Zol, bowlers star in tight India win

Vijay Zol hit a his second consecutive half-century to guide India to a 22-run victory in a closely fought match against Sri Lanka in the second Youth ODI in Kurunegala.

Sri Lanka, chasing 241, were comfortably placed at 152 for 4, but Priyamal Perera’s wicket triggered a collapse, with the hosts losing the remaining batsmen for just 66 runs, as all the Indian bowlers kept up the pressure and bowled at under six an over.
India, electing to bat, got off to a good start as the openers Ankush Bains and Akhil Herwadkar struck a total of seven fours and one six, and added 70 for the first wicket. However, medium-pacer Chamika Karunaratne got the breakthroughs for Sri Lanka by dismissing the pair, as well as Sanju Samson in quick succession to leave India precariously placed at 84 for 3. Karunaratne was the pick of the bowlers, and eventually finished with 4 for 44.

But Zol, coming in at No. 3, followed up his 76 in the first ODI with another crucial fifty, as India began to seize the initiative. Zol struck six fours and one six during his 75-ball 67, and put up a 62-run fifth-wicket stand with Ricky Bhui to take India to 177 after 38.

Zol was eventually caught by Sadeera Samarawickrama off Roshan Anurudda, but offspinner Aamir Gani gave a late flourish to the innings with an 18-ball 25 that included three fours, pushing India to 240.

Sri Lanka began their chase slowly, as medium-pacers Atit Sheth and Abhimanyu Lamba removed Kavindu Kulasekara, Minod Bhanuka and Kusal Mendis inside 10 overs. Samarawickrama tried to counterattack with a 52-ball 36, but was out leg before by left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav to leave Sri Lanka struggling at 77 for 4.

Perera and Thilaksha Sumanasiri fought back with a 75-run fifth-wicket partnership to keep the match evenly poised, but Lamba bowled Perera in the 38th to hand India the initiative.

Sumanasiri remained unbeaten by scoring 73 off just 82 balls, but with wickets falling regularly at the other end, he could make little difference, as the Indian bowlers held their nerves to bowl Sri Lanka out for 218.

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