Sri Lanka’s hopes of a worthwhile last workout ahead of the third npower Test against England at the Rose Bowl this week were washed away by the weather as rain allowed little more than 12 overs’ play at Chelmsford on the final day of the tour match against Essex.
Only an hour’s action was possible, before lunch, due to a delayed start and, as the players left the field at the interval, the elements closed in once more. This time the impasse proved terminal and the game was declared a draw at 3pm.
In the little play that did occur, the tourists lost two wickets to finish on 38 for three, a lead of 24. Tharanga Paranavitana was trapped lbw by Maurice Chambers without addition to his overnight one and Reece Topley had Dinesh Chandimal superbly caught by Ryan ten Doeschate at third slip, also for one, after he chased a wide delivery.
That left the visitors 10 for three, but first-innings centurion Kumar Sangakkara and match captain Thilan Samaraweera rallied and were unbeaten on 19 and 11 respectively.
With the wicket of Chandimal, Topley took his match figures to 6-34 from 21.4 overs and the 17-year-old, who is still at school, has now taken 28 wickets in seven first-class matches, including five in an innings twice.
Chris Silverwood, his bowling coach at Essex, is thrilled with the youngster’s development.
“He has bags of talent and we are delighted with his progress,” said the former England, Yorkshire and Middlesex pace bowler. “He has a big heart, is quick to take on advice and works hard at his game.
“It’s very encouraging to see the level of progress he has made so far and he’s made a very encouraging start to his career, but he knows there is a lot of hard work ahead of him yet.”
Sri Lanka skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan remains a major doubt for the Rose Bowl after fracturing his thumb in the second Test at Lord’s.
“There is no change at this stage,” said interim head coach Stuart Law. “His thumb is still in a splint; he is also in some discomfort at this stage and the medical team have said that he is highly likely to miss the Test.
“The game against Essex has proved very useful because it has allowed a couple of our batsmen to get amongst the runs.
“Young Lahiru Thirimanne, who is only 21, batted well in our first innings and hit 104 before we retired him out, which was a good indication that he was hitting the ball as good as he could.
“It was also great for Sangakkara to get out there and score 153 runs in the first innings and that will do his confidence no end of good.”