Gqeberha – Shukri Conrad’s SA A side suffered a seven-wicket defeat as Sri Lanka A levelled the one-day series on Tuesday (1-1) with one match remaining.
SA A captain Tony de Zorzi confidently opted to bat first on Tuesday morning in Kandy following his team’s four-wicket victory on Sunday.
It was clear that De Zorzi’s decision to bat first was more about testing his team’s young batting lineup to see if they could set a big score.
Coach Conrad made four changes to the XI that played the first unofficial ODI.
Kyle Verreynne, Gerald Coetzee, Tristan Stubbs and Zubayr Hamza replaced Sinethemba Qeshile, Lutho Sipamla, Senuran Muthusamy and Keegan Petersen as Conrad stuck to his word of giving all players opportunities to play on the tour.
With all these changes, Conrad promoted Matthew Breetzke to open the batting alongside Jordan Hermann and shifted De Zorzi down the order to No 4.
The decision to bat first did not work out at all as 22-year-old Dilshan Madushanka ripped through the SA A top order.
Madushanka accounted for Breetzke (14 off 26), Hermann (1 off 4), Hamza (2 off 3) and Verreynne (0 off 3), and left the visitors under immense pressure with the score on 20/4 inside the first 10 overs.
Madushanka finished pick of the bowlers with figures of 4/33 in nine overs, but it was not all over for the visitors as Coetzee (77 off 89) and Stubbs (59 off 88) put on a proper shift in an attempt to put on a defendable total on the board.
The pair combined for a century stand and took the score from 42/7 to 153/8, before Stubbs was dismissed with 67 deliveries remaining.
Coetzee was the aggressor in the century stand partnership and showed his potential with the bat.
With Proteas limited-overs coach Rob Walter assisting Conrad on tour, Coetzee certainly gave him something to think about ahead of the ODI World Cup later this year.
In reply, Sri Lanka A’s wicketkeeper-batter Nishan Madushka got off to a flying start and put opening bowlers Beyers Swanepoel (1/29 ) and Lizaad Williams (1/25) under pressure with 175 runs to defend.
Madushka took the attack to every single bowler in De Zorzi’s disposal and was joined by Sahan Arachchige after the home team lost three wickets courtesy of Williams, Swanepoel and Moreki.
Arachchige (50 not out off 55) and Madushka piled on the runs and led the home team to a seven-wicket victory with 21 overs to spare.
Madushka (107 not out off 85) stood out in the run chase as he scored his third List A century and continued what has been a successful year in the national setup following his Test debut earlier this year.
The series will be decided in the third and final unofficial ODI, which will be played at the same venue on Thursday.
Brief scores: SA A: 175/10 (Coetzee 77, Stubbs 59, Madushanka 4/33, Aracchige 2/18)
Sri Lanka A: 178/3 (Madushka 107 not out, Arachchige 50 not out, Williams 1/25, Moreki 1/25)
Result: Sri Lanka A won by seven wickets