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Kent and Sussex

Sussex & Kent Academy tour Sri Lanka

19 Feb 2024

All the updates from the five match combined 

Academy tour of Sri Lanka

Last week a combined Sussex and Kent Academy side embarked on a five-match tour of Sri Lanka, providing the ultimate test for the next generation of cricketers in South Asian conditions. 

The combined Sussex and Kent touring squad arrived at Colombo on the evening of Friday 9th February and settled into their accommodation at Cinnamon Lakeside hotel.

Over the weekend two middle and net practice sessions at Moors CC and Bloomfield CC enabled the squad to find their feet back on grass and start to get acclimatised to the hot and humid conditions.

Local net bowlers helped ease the workload on our bowlers ahead of the match schedule and enabled good practice time to be had.

Match One vs Galle Region XI at Mercantile Cricket Club

Sussex/Kent bowled first and soon had early reward with Kieran Finnegan picking up the first wicket LBW.

For 37 overs the combined team chipped away and kept taking wickets, Julian Laird with his left arm spin bowling very well and taking 3 for 32 in his 10 overs and Freddie Wallis taking 2 for 36 in his 10.

Sussex/Kent were in a good position at 168 for 7, but we faded from that point in the conditions and allowed the opposition to escape with poorly executed death bowling, with a final score of 281 all-out in 50 overs. 

Batting proved difficult for the combined side. Sussex/Kent scored at a good rate but lost wickets too regularly against a well drilled attack, who possessed a battery of spin bowlers who exploited a helpful surface.

Sussex/Kent were bowled out for 126 and reality of the tough challenge ahead for the group was clear to see.

Match Two vs Dambulla Region XI at Bloomfield Cricket Club

This time Sussex/Kent batted first, and the innings was almost identical to the 1st innings in the first game. 

Sussex/Kent started well adding 50 for the first wicket through Laird (28) and Singh (30) before regular fall of wickets against the turning ball left the visitors under pressure at 121 for 6.

A patient and well-constructed 74 run partnership by Curtiss and Harry Eastman (33) turned the game in our Favour.

Once Eastman had departed, Curtiss and Ford (39) attacked the death overs well and added a further 79-run partnership which enabled Sussex/Kent to close on 290 off 50 overs.

Curtis’ 77 was an outstanding knock in a difficult situation and on a spinning surface and was a match defining performance.

Dambulla started positively in their chase but like the visitors the day before, Sussex/Kent were chipping away getting a couple of wickets in the powerplay. 

The introduction of spinners Wallis (4-40) and Laird like the day before killed the game of effectively, with a little flurry from the last pair, Dambulla were all out for 193, giving the visitors a 97-run victory.

Match Three vs Kandy District at Nondescripts Cricket Club

With the home side batting first, Kandy posted a score of 242 all out from 48.1 overs. 

Fergus Kenyon struck three times in his first spell for the combined Academy team and with Harry Walker also striking in his first spell, the visitors were on top.

Kandy fought back with a century stand to post a competitive total.

Julian Laird again bowled a tidy 10 overs in the middle spell, taking 2-46 from his 10, Walker and Ford both finished with 2 wickets a piece and figurers of 2-28 and 2-29 respectively.

At 142 for 2 the chase had started well, the dismissal of Lawrence for 37 then triggered two further wickets going on the same score. 

Suddenly 142 for 5 the chase was in the balance; however, a 67-run partnership settled us again with Dawkins playing well for his 84.

His dismissal at 200 triggered a second collapse and at 217 for 9 only a composed and well thought out 52 not out from Ekansh Singh brought us victory by one wicket.

Match Four vs Surrey at NCC

Sussex/Kent started well in this match with Oli Avinou taking two early wickets on a good pitch but with aggressive batting and a high degree of extras, Surrey soon took control.

Opener Karpe scored a fine 108, this supported by 62 by Pascall and 44 and 49 by Bated and Nelson.

A total of 356 for 8 from 50 overs was a well over par total for Sussex/Kent to try and chase.

Lawrence 51 and Laird 49 kept Sussex/Kent up with the rate but wickets kept falling at regular intervals.

31 from Parakirama and 36 from Dawkins kept us battling on but ultimately, we were to be bowled out for 230. Varma took 4 for 25 for Surrey.

Match Five vs Surrey at NCC

The final day of the Sri Lanka tour ended in a tight three-wicket defeat for the combined Academy side.

Batting first, Sussex/Kent got off to a great start, bringing up 60 in the 10th over before we lost Louie Lawrence for 23.

His opening partner Dawkins and Wallis took us to 125 before Wallis departed for 14.

Dawkins (84), Curtiss (73) and Parakirama (30) put Sussex/Kent into a strong position and put together a competitive score of 285 all out in 49.3 overs.

Surrey got off to a flyer in return, however spin duo of Wallis (2-26) and Laird (2-)30 in 10 enabled Sussex/Kent to stay firmly in the game.

Surrey then regained the initiative before our seamers returned and began to chip away with wickets, but Surrey completed the chase with three wickets in hand with an over left.

Keith Greenfield, Director of Pathways and Cricket Partnerships

"The trip has been an excellent learning opportunity for all our players and one that over the next 10 weeks will enable further skill development to take place, putting us in a better position for successful summers ahead.

"We would like to thank Smile Group Travel and Island Leisure Lanka for their organisation of this trip that has given us everything we needed for our players to have a great learning experience.

"We'd also like to thank the staff at Cinnamon Lakeside hotel who hosted us fantastically well."



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