Sri Lanka A level series against Lions
Sri Lanka A won the fourth match of their series with England Lions to draw level at 2-2 and set up a decider in Colombo on Monday.
Despite a brisk opening partnership between Samit Patel, promoted up the order in place of Joe Root, and Alex Hales, the Lions limped to 204 all out in 42.1 overs after being asked to bat. Sri Lanka's batsmen also struggled to score freely but solid contributions from the top order eventually saw them to their target.
When Kosala Kulasekara became the third wicket to fall in 16 balls - with 17 still needed for victory and No. 8 Malinga Bandara on his way to the crease - the Lions may have sensed an unlikely reprieve. But Bandara struck a six and a four as he and Kushal Perera put the wobble behind them to secure the win with almost eight overs to spare.
The run chase was built on another solid opening - Dimuth Karunaratne top-scoring with 45 - and Sri Lanka's middle and lower order provided better ballast than England's had earlier in the day.
The Lions' innings gradually subsided after the opener Patel had blasted a 47-ball 50. The next four batsmen all failed and when Hales departed - becoming Seekkuge Prasanna's third victim - with the score at 139 for 6, a challenging total still looked a long way off. Chris Woakes provided some resistance but he fell to Bandara as the 200 beckoned and the Lions' tail was finally clipped shortly after.