Scotland hosted Sri Lanka for two 50 over matches at Beckenham on the 21st and 23rd of May. These matches were not given ODI status which meant many of Scotland’s County players were not able to be released and so Stuart Wittingham made his debut. Sri Lanka approached these matches as warm-ups for the Champions Trophy where they do not stand much hope of making the knock out stages.
The first match saw a superb win for Scotland as, even though it was not an ODI, any win against a full member is to be savoured. Sri Lanka made 287 from their 50 overs, bowled out with a ball to go. Opener Kusal Perera scored 57 and Dinesh Chandimal, who has been in poor form, reached 79 in 105 balls. Chamara Kapugedera, who is returning to the One Day side gave the innings some impetus with 71 from 50 balls but Scotland kept picking up wickets. Alistair Evans and Stuart Whittingham both took 3, Whittingham especially impressed on his debut as he removed Chandimal, Kapugedera and Kusal Mendis.
288 to win did not seem like it would be an easy chase for Scotland but Matthew Cross and Kyle Coetzer made it look easy. Coetzer, who was a late addition to the squad as he was initially going to be absent due to the birth of his child, scored 118 from 84 balls. Keeper and opener Matthew Cross also hit a century, ending on 106* from 123 balls. This opening stand of 201 meant the result was never in doubt and Scotland eventually won in 42.5 overs, 3 wickets down.
The second match went less well for Scotland. Nuwan Kulasekara, Thisara Perrera and Seekkuge Prasana took wickets which saw Scotland on the ropes at 4-70 in the 20th over. Left arm unorthodox spinner Lakshan Sandakan, who bamboozled Australia last year, then took four wickets as Scotland were bowled out for 166 in 42.1 overs. It definitely seems as though Sri Lanka were on it after their shock loss and made sure to strike back well. The only real resistance with the bat came from Craig Wallace who scored 46, coming in at number 6. After their superb performance with the ball Sri Lanka did not slip with the bat, knocking off the total in just 22.5 overs. Upal Tharanga was 53* and Kusal Mendis was 74*.
Despite this thrashing, Scotland can take a lot of heart from the series. Their win in the first match, particularly due to its comfortable nature, made waves around the cricketing world as focus turns to associate teams in anticipation of Ireland and Afghanistan being given Test status. Scotland definitely have a claim to say their batting is currently better than Ireland’s and with the introduction of Whittingham there is talent available with the ball as well.