Rajapaksa and rain fell England
Captain Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s century and Colombo showers condemned England Under-19s to defeat in the opening match of the one-day series against their Sri Lanka counterparts.
Rajapaksa led the hosts to a commanding 290 for eight at Colts Cricket Club with a fluent 130 from 131 balls, featuring 12 fours and four sixes.
Rain between innings left the tourists chasing 231 from 33 overs and, when further downpours ended the game at 143 for six from 25 overs, they were 31 short under the Duckworth-Lewis method.
Rajapaksa made England skipper Lewis Gregory regret his decision to insert Sri Lanka, not least in adding 139 for the sixth wicket with Lasith Abeyratne, who compiled a steady 46.
Extras was their third highest contributor with 45 as the tourists sent down 21 wides.
Only Gregory and Shiv Thakor emerged with creditable bowling figures, returning 3-43 and 2-34 respectively from 10 overs.
There were also two wickets and a run out for Matthew Dunn, who trapped Niroshan Dickwella in front in the third over, found Abeyratne short of his ground in the 49th and dismissed Sanitha de Mel from the last ball of the innings.
Gregory followed up Dunn’s initial strike to remove opener Shehan Jayasuriya for 24 and bowled Yasoda Lanka to leave Sri Lanka were 57 for three.
Rajapaksa and Dhananjaya de Silva steadied the ship with a 57-run alliance before the latter fell to Thakor for 20.
Angelo Jayasinghe soon followed to the seamer but Rajapaksa and Abeyratne responded by producing the innings’ defining partnership.
Following the first rain delay, England’s pursuit was undermined by the regular loss of wickets.
Rajapaksa halted a rapid start by removing Sam Wood and Adam Rossington in the fourth over and, when Amila Aponso dismissed Gregory in the seventh, the tourists were 46 for three.
Their plight worsened when Jayasuriya had opener Daniel Bell-Drummond caught and bowled for 30 and Supeshala Jayathilake removed Ateeq Javid for 24 and Thakor.
Only four more overs were possible, leaving the tourists aiming to square the five-match rubber at the same venue on Sunday.