Sri Lanka U-23 team whitewashed Nepal in their four-match friendly series after registering thumping seven-wicket victory at NCC cricket grounds in Colombo on Sunday.
The top and middle order once again ran out of patience as Nepal managed 166-7 in 50 overs though it was team’s highest score in the tour so far. Sri Lanka raced towards 167-3 in just 34.4 overs following a half-century from Kushal Mendis.
Nepal got the early breakthrough when Avinash Karn bowled Shehan Jayasuriya (13) in the fifth over but thereafter Sri Lankans took a firm control in the match. Opener Udara Jayasundara and Kithuruwan Vithanage took Sri Lanka to 68 runs before the former nicked a catch to wicketkeeper Mahesh Chhetri off Jitendra Mukhiya.
Jayasundara made 29 from 38 balls hitting four boundaries. Nepal waited more for breakthrough after Vithanage and Kushal added 41 runs for the third wicket before Mahesh took another sharp catch off Basanta Regmi to dismiss the No 3 batsman. Vithanage made a composed 48 off 55 with four hits to the fence.
Mendis took Sri Lanka across the finishing line sharing an unbroken 58-run stand with Rumesh Buddhika – who made 18 not out. Mendis made 56 from 70 with six boundaries.
Earlier, Nepal owed much to their middle and lower middle order batsmen for putting some runs on the board. Pradeep Airee fell for a duck, while Paras (five) and Binod Bhandari (one) took no time to lose their wicket. The best top order could do was Anil Mandal’s 31-run partnership with No 3 Gyanendra Malla.
Gyanendra made a 20-ball 18 with two boundaries and after hitting three boundaries in his 55-ball stay at the crease, opener Anil left Nepal tottering at 68-5. Sharad Vesawkar and Sagar Pun took Nepal past triple figures collecting 32 runs but their exit in a space of nine runs saw Nepal reduced to 109-7 in 36th over.
Sharad hit one six and a four to make 29 from 40, while Sagar hit three fours to make a 32-ball 16. Basanta and Shakti Gauchan then frustrated Sri Lankan bowlers with a 57-run unbroken stand that gave some respectability to Nepal’s total.
No 9 Shakti was the highest scorer in Nepali innings with 31 off 46 where he hit one six, while Basanta made 30 off 55. Basanta hit two boundaries. Akila Dhananjaya and Lahiru Jayaratna took two wickets each for Sri Lanka.
Nepal will now play their final match of the 15-day Lanka tour against a North East team. The team will leave for Singapore to participate in the ACC Emerging Teams Cup straight from Sri Lanka. Emerging Teams Cup is beginning on August 17.