Ayres onslaught helps Glos maintain 100% tour record

Gloucestershire U18s maintained their 100% record in Sri Lanka with a 92 run victory over Nandala College in a one-sided contest at the P Sara Oval – one of Colombo’s Test grounds.

After losing the toss the visitors posted 344-9 from their 50 overs before restricting the home side to 252-9 in response.

Batting first Glos lost Harry Senior (Dymock) in the first over but bounced back in counter-attacking style. In the country that invented pinch-hitting Milo Ayres (Brislington) showed the locals how it is done, getting off the mark with a huge six over extra cover and waging an unrelenting assault on the Nandala bowlers.

Combining booming drives and ruthless swats off his legs he raced to 50 from 22 balls and went on to make 75 off just 33 deliveries. Together with Joe Dryell, who made a solid 31 from 34 balls, the pair put on 122 for the second wicket in just 11 overs.

Dryell was first to go, caught at backward point off Kamalaserya, while Ayres fell to the same bowler three balls after top edging a pull. 125-3 after 12 overs became 125-4 in the next when skipper Dom Goodman was caught behind off left armer Senaratna without scoring.

The loss of three quick wickets slowed down the scoring as Bristol duo Sujan Canagrajah and Matt Brewer set about rebuilding. As they settled in both players looked at ease, Canagrajah playing  a number of elegant flicks off his pads and Brewer striking the ball well down the ground.

Together they added 98 for the fifth wicket before a horrible mix-up saw Cangarajah run out at the on-strikers end for 43. Brewer continued to advance towards his half century in singles and survived a huge appeal on 49 when the umpires agreed with him that the ball didn’t carry to cover. However there was no dispute next ball as he edged behind to Aviska off Jayaranna to leave Glos on 240-6 in the 35th over.

The two quick wickets brought the Price brothers – Tom and Ollie – to the crease. They began in watchful fashion but began to accelerate as the innings moved into the final 10 overs. Tom took the role of aggressor, striking a big six over cover and an even bigger one with a slog sweep over midwicket. He was finally bowled by Senaratna for a useful 62 off 55 balls that saw Glos go into the final two overs on 328-7. Ollie Price batted on to finish unbeaten on 41 while George Pritchard ensured the innings ended with a bang as he struck his first and only ball through midwicket for four. That final boundary took Glos to 344-8.

In reply Nandala took the attack to the Glos bowlers, being particularly quick on to anything that dropped short or drifted onto their pads. They had raced to 34-0 after six overs before a mix up led to Mayadunna being run out by Ben Parker (Winterbourne) for 11.

The dangerous Aviska (29) followed two overs later when an outside edge carried all the way to Johnnie Gunn (Poulton) at third man off Pritchard. Gunn then got in on the act himself, snaring Sankalpa to a good catch by Brewer standing up to the stumps. This left Nandala on 57-3 after 12 and all but ended their attempts to chase down the Gloucestershire total.

Gunn (2-19 from 8) and Kiran Chakraborty (2-21) (Corse and Staunton) were the pick of the bowlers as the game petered out towards its inevitable conclusion. Number eight Kalamasurya topscored with 48 while highlights in the field included a stunning one-handed diving slip catch by Tom Price and an impressive grab by Senior at short cover – both off Chakraborty.

The touring party now move to Kandy, with the boys’ next match due to take place in Dambulla on February 14.