Sri Lanka under 19 team led by Dunith Wellalage made a fine team effort to win the England under 19 ODI series 3-2 played at SSC grounds last week .The
series win always gave big boost to Sri Lanka youth team before Asia Cup as well as World Cup tournaments. After 5-0 series win over Bangladesh played at Dambulla Wellalage and the team once again produced good fighting spirit to beat English team .
England beat Sri Lanka youth team in their first match to get 1-0 lead but Sri Lankan team came back strongly to the second game while captain Wellalage was leading from the front .Wellalage was also named man of the series for his fine all round performances.
Undoubtedly Wellalage used his experience throughout the series with his all round capabilities while deputy Skipper Raveen de Silva gave fine support to his skipper with fine displays Sri Lankan team still little bit worried to find permanent opening batting pair which has to do soon before the major tournaments. They tried out Anjala Bandara the wicket keeper , Sadeesh Jayawardena , Chamindu
Wickramasinghe and finally Shevon Daniel but it didn’t click as they expected .Wickramasinghe has shown his potential as an opener but his partners have not clicked during this series. Last game Abhishek Liyanarachchi also tried out as an opener .
The left hander Pawan Pathiraja once again came to the limelight being highest scorer of the England series while he was scoring 195 runs in four matches with as century having a average of 48.75 while skipper Wellalage scored 139 runs in four matches with an average of 46.33 ,middle order batter Ranuda Somaratne who scored back to back half centuries scoring 129 runs in five matches with 32.25 had a successful series while Raveen de Silva, Shevon Daniel were also among the runs. Chamindu Wickramasinghe once again proved his all round performance and all these are the positives before world cup .Sri Lanka’s youth spinners once again came with fine performance in this series.
Leg spinners Wellalage and Wanuja Sahan had five wickets hauls each while Raveen de Silva and off spinner Trevin Methew also among the wickets to contain theEngland batters . The paceman Chamindu Wickramasinghe, Yasiru Rodrigo and Matheesha Pathirana always did their part to get early breakthrough and that was very important .Vinuja Ranpul also bowled well to pick up a four wicket haul at the last ODI.
Especially Wickramasinghe and Rodrigo were able to make runs as batters at important stages which always gave additional advantage to Sri Lanka team .Sri Lanka always more concerned about paceman at the world cup which will be played in West Indies next February and most probably expected fast bowling track during the tournament .
Sri Lankan strategy was very clear as they rested key players at the final England ODI after winning the series. The final ODI won by England with their skipper Tom Prest took best figures of 6 for 41 with his off spin .Sri Lankan rested skipper Wellalage, Pawan Pathiraja, Chamindu Wickramasinghe, Yasiiru Rodrigo as well as the key off spinner Trevin Methew. However all rounder Sadisha Rajapaksa showed good all around skills in that game that also a big boost for Rajapaksa before the Asia Cup
The head coach Avishka Gunawardena and his supporting staff fast bowling coach Chamila Gamage, fielding coach Upul Chandana, spin coach Sachith Pathirana and batting coach Dhammika Sudharshana all gave fine support to youngsters while former Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardena always give additional strength as a consultant coach which is more important before the world cup. Sri Lanka Cricket made arrangements to host Bangladesh and England series to give much needed match practice for the Sri Lanka under 19 team and it was highly successful Sri Lanakan team is expected to leave on December 17 the Asia Cup cricket tournament which will commence from 20th in UAE.