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Kent Spitfires suffer 128-run defeat in tour game against Sri Lanka at Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence

By Alex Hoad

Kent Spitfires suffered a comprehensive 128-run defeat at the hands of tourists Sri Lanka in a 50-over clash at a sun-drenched Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence on Friday.

Thousands flocked to the day/night game against the ICC World T20 champions, but home fans saw the Spitfires – who had rested several senior players with an eye on the Championship trip to Gloucestershire on Sunday - fall well short in chase which always looked tough.

Robbie Joseph was the pick of the Kent bowlers as the tourists posted an imposing total of 301-7 in glorious sunshine, with seven players scoring 29 or more.

Joseph steamed in from the Pavilion End to claim 4-59 from his 10 overs, including one with his first ball, tempting Kusal Perera into a nick to Alex Blake at first slip to leave the tourists on 9/1.

Joseph also got Tillakaratne Dilshan to sky one to a diving David Griffiths for a quickfire 35 while Adam Ball bowled Kumar Sangakkara for 33 and Charlie Hartley collected his first senior wicket as Mahela Jayawardena drove him straight to Blake to leave the visitors on 127-4.

Angelo Matthews and Lahiru Thirimanne then swept the tourists along to 211 before Matthews holed-out to Ball off Joseph for 51, which included two sixes and five fours.

Thirimanne followed him soon after when he danced down the wicket facing the returning James Tredwell, only to be stumped by Sam Billings for a patient 49.

There was still time for Dinesh Chandimal to amass a rapid 47 from 31 balls, which featured four fours and two sixes though a seventh-wicket stand of 71 ended in the final over when Thisara Perera was bowled by Joseph for a lively 29, though the visitors passed the 300-mark with a four from Kulasekara from the final delivery.

Alex Blake. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Alex Blake. Picture: Barry Goodwin

In reply the pace of Suranga Lakmal caused the Kent top-order problems and Daniel Bell-Drummond nicked one to Sangakkara for four while Fabian Cowdrey followed him back to the pavilion for a five-ball duck as Kent lost two wickets with the score on 17.

Sam Northeast and Alex Blake steadied the ship before the captain for the day holed out to Kusal Perera off the bowling of Thisara Perera for 26.

Ben Harmison became Perera’s second victim when he was caught by Lakmal for one and although Billings and Blake put on 68 runs for the fifth wicket in under nine overs, the wicketkeeper edged to his opposite number off Perera for a fluid 29 to leave Kent on 129-5.

Blake continued to tick along and hit seven fours on his way to a half-century, before eventually skying one to Matthews off Kulasekara for a fine 60.

Tredwell came in on 148-6 but was bowled by Ajantha Mendis for 8 just 13 runs later and Ball was stumped off the same bowler after a tidy 26.

Joseph didn’t linger for his two, departing four balls after Ball, being bowled by Lakmal and Hartley was last man out, caught on the boundary for five with Kent on 173.

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