Sri Lanka batsman Lahiru Thirimanne has warned England that “confidence levels are really high” in his camp ahead of the upcoming Test series between the two sides.
After winning both the Asia Cup and World T20 already this year, Sri Lanka are unsurprisingly in buoyant mood ahead of the fixtures. Marvan Atapattu’s men have been warming up for the first Test at Lords on June 12 with a tour match against Northamptonshire, which ended in a draw.
However, Northants were helped out a great deal by the weather, which conspired to stop play completely on Saturday. It had not stopped Sri Lanka from powering to 558-8 declared in their first innings, and following a reply of 345 all out, the Lions added a further 99-4 declared before the draw was called.
The result will have surprised few after they opted not to enforce the follow on, and Northants’ Rob Keogh was one of the only Steelbacks to offer any real resistance with a knock of 120.
Despite the restricted play, there were plenty of positive signs for Sri Lanka, who dominated throughout. Kaushal Silva and Thirimanne both hit centuries of 152 and 120 respectively, though Thirimanne’s was a somewhat fortunate ton as he was dropped on his first ball.
Mahela Jayawardene also scored just short of a half century with 46. Atapattu’s only real concern from the match will be the fitness of Silva, who retired hurt, but the injury is not believed to be serious, meaning he should be able to return in time for the first Test.
It was certainly a warm-up match worth playing, though, as their bowling attack looked to have reached full form, with Dhammika Prasad (4-68), and Dilruwan Perera (4-92) both putting in star performances.
"Confidence levels are really high," said Thirimanne. "We haven't had much luck in the past, we want to win a Test series here so that is the main concern."
Meanwhile, Peter Moores has, in contrast, decided to allow his players to rest before play gets underway at the home of cricket on Thursday. That move may well be for the best, as it will give his players time to cool down after the animosity of the final ODI at Edgbaston. The furore surrounding Jos Buttler’s controversial ‘mankad’ run-out at the hands of Sachithra Senanayake refuses to die down, but Moores must now instruct his side to move on, particularly as the opposition seem to have done so.
Indeed, Sri Lanka only seem to have settled even more as their summer tour of England continues. The recent ODI series finished in their favour with a 3-2 victory, but the Northants match appears to have been ideal for getting them back into a frame of mind for the longer form of the game.
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