U19 Blog from Sri Lanka #2
U19 players Kyle Stirling and Michael English send us their latest blogs from Sri Lanka where they are enjoying some ferocious heat.
Days 5 and 6 in Sri Lanka for the Scotland Under 19s have provided us with our first win of the 2013 season, as well as allowing us to meet some of the locals who were affected by the 2004 Tsunami.
Day 5 saw us taking on Asoka Vidyalaya at the Army Ground in Colombo. Batting first we managed to put on a massive 319-6 in our 50 overs due to our opening batsman/captain Ross Maclean (58) and Andrew Umeed (138) putting on a 115 run partnership for the first wicket They were then followed by good supporting knocks from Alex Baum, Michael English and Kyle Stirling.
It was then up to our bowlers who showed no remorse with Gavin Main picking up our first wicket of the innings with the first ball! We stuck to our game plan to perfection and eventually bowled out Asoka Vidyalaya for a mere 146 - earning us a 173 run win.
Day 6 was our rest day and we set off to a Tsunami affected village which has been fortunate to have been the recipient of a centre of excellence run by the MCC and which has had donations from the likes of cricketing legends Muttiah Murilitharan, Shane Warne and Sir Ian Botham to name just a few.
This centre of excellence offers people from the village of Seenigama (south of Colombo) the opportunity to receive education and health care as well as providing the younger generation with a chance to excel with various sports such as cricket, volleyball, netball and swimming. The opportunity to see how the MCC centre of excellence was providing people with the chance to succeed in life was a really humbling experience for us all.
Later in the afternoon it was time for the players to have a short coaching session with some of the local children who play under the MCC centre of excellence. We managed to get more of a chance to speak to some of the boys who have a passion to play cricket even though they don't have all the latest equipment and luxuries as most of us do. Spending an hour with those boys and going through various fielding and bowling drills provided all of us with a memory we will never forget!
The lads awoke early yesterday and felt decidedly invigorated after our eye-opening day at the MCC Centre of Excellence which everyone thoroughly enjoyed.
We are required to carry out daily tests which include our pee test (hydration), heart rate and muscle soreness with great ease, much to the pleasure of ‘Smudger’. Unfortunately Nick felt slightly under the weather, must be all the sun that he has had over the winter, and would not travel with the team to the game.
Arriving at the ground in our comfortably cool air conditioned bus we soon hit the wall of heat that we had not yet become accustomed to - despite our numerous hours spent in its blistering rays.
A warm up of football in which the West, yet again dominated due to some beautiful football from the lads, against our capital counterparts of the East, saw English, Hill and Baum all grabbing the goals. Some fielding and throwdowns followed and made for a sweaty dressing room at only half 9 in the morning.
Fielding first, in 35 degree heat, the bowlers were not fully up to scratch and gave away a few too many easy runs to the opposition, despite Niall Alexander picking up a wicket in the first over.
Haris Chaudry picked up three quick wickets to leave the opposition on 62 for 4, and we were now on top. Chayank (Cheeky) Gosain, Haris Aslam and Michael English all picked up wickets to have our Sri Lankan opponents struggling at 133-9 but a 10th wicket partnership of 51 demoralised us in the Sri Lankan heat.
We were given the opportunity to remain in the field for the full 50 overs to challenge us both mentally and physically and our opponents given another chance to bat. They managed to reach 277 in their new allocation of overs, and for our lads a big learning experience on the challenge of fielding in heat for nearly 4 hours.
Rossco and Andy opened up, and our usually ever-reliable pair unfortunately couldn’t hold off the President Colleges seam attack. With only Zander Muir (34) in the top order able to offer resistance to the very accurate and deceptive spin attack, Gavin Main was left stranded on 28, and we were all out for 138.
A tough lesson for the batsmen in tough conditions, but an intense batting session today (aided by the Sri Lankan lads in the nets who helped out by bowling spin to us) was beneficial to work on our scoring options and grow confidence on these ‘ragging’ wickets. With the bowlers taking a well-earned break today, and the squad hopefully back to full fitness, we are all looking forward to another game tomorrow in the ‘oven like’ Sri Lankan conditions.
With the curtain closed now on our first week here, a few of the boys will be hoping to get rid of their incredible cricketing tans over the next week (arms and ‘v’ around the neck) and I am sure they are not missing the Arctic conditions you all seem to be suffering back home, well, I know I’m certainly not.