Sri Lanka 521-5 dec Sussex 40-1: Kapugedera breezes to century before storm spares Sussex

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A chill wind blew across the County Ground yesterday, and it had nothing to do with the squally weather which curtailed the final session.

The source of this chilly blast was not the loss of Sussex's opener Richard Montgomerie late in the day, but rather the ease with which Sri Lanka's Chamara Kapugedera reached his maiden first-class hundred. It was the 19-year-old's eighth first-class match, a few days after a more modest Test debut.

That nervy performance at Lord's, where he made nought and 10, meant that Kapugedera's place in the Sri Lanka team for the second Test, which starts at Edgbaston next Thursday, was in doubt.

The youngster got his head down and played some excellent strokes, driving well either side of the wicket, although the shot he employed to reach three figures was a more impatient pull to the midwicket boundary.

Sanath Jayasuriya, the veteran opener, did not have the opportunity to remind the selectors what he can do after being omitted from the match. But he insisted that he is still in the mix for the second Test.

"It doesn't rule me out because they are trying out a few players here," he said. "I'm just practising and getting settled down in England. We don't know about the team - if I'm picked I always love to play for my country, if not I'll have to sit out the game."

There was little to cheer Sussex, other than the early wicket of Sri Lanka's captain, Mahela Jayawardene, caught behind by Andrew Hodd off the bowling of James Kirtley, the most senior member of a raw Sussex attack.

That brought in Kapugedera to join Thilan Samaraweera, a veteran of 38 Tests. Together the sixth-wicket pair compiled 238 runs - a record for any wicket for either side in the half a dozen matches between these two teams.

While Kapugedera did not exactly gallop along he still reached his 100 almost an hour before his partner, who chiselled and ground his way to his second century of the tour.

Samaraweera gave one chance, driving at the occasional medium pacer and first-class debutant Neil Turk. Hodd spilled the catch. Three overs later, Samaraweera reached his century and the batsmen darted off just ahead of the storm.