Left-arm spinners dominated proceedings today claiming 11 wickets between them on an eventful Day Two of the Ireland Wolves v Sri Lanka four-day match at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo.
Resuming their overnight total at 185-4, Sri Lanka A lost their last six wickets this morning all to the bowling of James Cameron-Dow. The Northern Knights left-arm off-spinner claimed a first-class career-best of 7-77 as his side wrapped up the home side’s innings for 308 in the 78th over.
Milinda Siriwardana, who has appeared in five Tests for the Sri Lankan senior side, converted his overnight score into a century - out shortly after for 104, while overnight batting partner Kamindu Mendis fell for 91.
One unfortunate note from the day was that first-innings batting hero James McCollum was hit on the back of the head during the morning session while fielding at short leg, and had to leave the field. After assessment by medical staff at the ground, and a precautionary hospital visit for further assessment by a consultant, McCollum will re-join the squad at their hotel. He will undergo monitoring over coming days by Cricket Ireland support staff, and in line with standard protocols, will not return to training or play for six days.
As a result, McCollum did not bat in the Wolves second innings. Sri Lanka A agreed, and the match official was informed, that Gareth Delany could bat in the second innings in McCollum’s place - an arrangement within the rules that allows the game’s first-class status to be maintained.
With a 155-run deficit, Ireland Wolves were looking for a positive start however lost early and regular wickets to find themselves at 103-6 in the 35th over. James Shannon, elevated to opener in this second innings, hit a promising 32 from 47 balls, which included five boundaries, but as with the first innings the Wolves struggled to consolidate a decent partnership in the top order.
Lasith Embuldeniya, the left-arm orthodox spinner who claimed four wickets in the first innings against the Wolves, picked up 5-68, completing a great day for left-arm spinners on this dry Colombo pitch.
There was some late order striking that put some respectability into the score and the Wolves finished Day Two on 182-9 – a 27-run lead going into Day Three.
James Cameron-Dow, star with the ball today, said
“I felt really good out there. It was quite difficult when the two left-handers were going - both are good players. We were struggling a little bit with control, but once we got one of those out we opened up an end and the control came - all of a sudden things started happening and the deck was giving us a little bit of assistance here and there.”
“There are two big things I’ve learned out here [in Sri Lanka] – one is the length you bowl, and nailing that length over and over again. The second thing is field placings and angles. We’ve been working really hard with Cass [Rob Cassell] and working out exactly where our fielders need to be in order to create pressure, and I think we got that right today for the first time.”
Asked about carrying his good form forward on the tour and into 2019:
“It's just about consistent performances now, bowling as much as I can in the nets. I’ve learned a lot about myself over the last 12 months – I’m the type of bowler that needs to bowl plenty of overs, and if I keep doing that and performing consistently then I’m really looking forward to a good season with the Knights and whoever else I play for.”
SCORECARD IN BRIEF
Sri Lanka A v Ireland Wolves, 5-8 January 2019, SSC Colombo
Ireland Wolves 153 (45.2 overs; J McCollum 76, N Rock 28; L Embuldeniya 4-46, M Shiraz 4-47)
Sri Lanka A 308 (77.1 overs; T Siriwardana 104, P Mendis 91; J Cameron-Dow 7-77, M Adair 3-43)
Ireland Wolves 182-9 (52 overs; J Shannon 32, L Tucker 26; L Embuldeniya 5-68)