Fernando finds form to set SL tone

Avishka Fernando scored his first fifty of this Under-19 World Cup © ICC

Sri Lanka had done most of their job before the umpires called for the lunch break. They hadn’t just bowled England out for 184 runs in 49.2 overs, with the bat they had reached 51 for no loss in eight overs.

While some bowling sides struggle to fit in 50 overs in three-and-a-half hours, Sri Lanka got through theirs in an hour less as 42 overs were bowled by spinners. After a short ten-minute break, opening batsman Avishka Fernando then tore into the England attack.

He had already reached 35 off 24 balls, with the help of seven fours, by the lunch break. Four of them came on the trot in one Sam Curran over. He hammered the ball over cover and point for the first two fours before hitting one with the bottom of his bat towards the off-side. The final boundary in the over was square-driven past point.

The tone was set as he reached his fifty off 44 balls and added a six over midwicket. His final flurry of boundaries was in the 80s when he whipped one down the leg-side for four before late-cutting another to enter the 90s. He ramped another four to get to 95 but, next ball, was caught off an edge while attempting to flay at another Saqib Mahmood short ball.

But by then, Sri Lanka were just 14 runs away from a place in the semi-final. Fernando, who went to St Sebastian College in Moratuwa, said there was no regret at not getting to his century. “I am not disappointed but it was a very good opportunity,” Fernando said. “I am very happy today. I played very well. I am doing the basics right.”

Sri Lanka captain Charith Asalanka said that Fernando clicked after a run of middling form. “He is a good batsman but he couldn’t get to his rhythm in last matches,” Asalanka said. “Today he played his natural game.”

He also admitted that they were given a dressing-down by the coach Roger Wijesuriya after losing to Pakistan in their final group match in Mirpur on February 3. Asalanka and Fernando broke into a giggle when asked about this stern talk.

“There was a little problem with our batting,” Asalanka said. “The guys played really bad shots. He was angry at that time. He told us to play good cricket and play for the team. It helped us with what the coach told us. He told us to bat longer.”

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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