The touring Sri Lankan side visited New Road for their only 50 over warm up match before their upcoming limited over series against England. The Sri Lanka touring squad contained some very experienced one day players including Sanath Jayasuriya and Lasith Malinga. Despite the inclement weather the match proved to a thrilling one with career best performances on both teams and almost 650 runs scored on the day.
Worcestershire rested a couple of senior players which enabled some of the junior players such as Ben Cox, Jack Manuel and Neil Pinner a chance of first team action. The match also saw the Worcestershire debut for the Pakistani off spinner Saeed Ajmal who is joining the county for the rest of the season. Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat first.
Sri Lanka made a quick start on what appeared to be an excellent batting track. Jayasuriya was soon in his stride. The opening partnership with Mahela Jayawardene reached 56 within 8 overs. The introduction of spin in the form of Saeed Ajmal produced the first breakthrough when Jayawardene edged a close catch to Ben Cox for 18. The very next ball Dinesh Chandimal was trapped LBW which gave Ajmal the prospect of an hat-trick in his very first over for Worcestershire.
Ajmal was the only bowler to make an impact on the very experienced Sri Lankan batting order who were soon finding the boundary with some huge shots. Angelo Mathews made 81 and Jayasuriya 78 off just 60 deliveries with 13 boundaries but the star of the show was Jeevan Mendis who scored an unbeaten 99* off 71 deliveries with 14 boundaries at the end of the innings as Sri Lanka finished on 351 for 5.
Mathews and Mendis shared a 5th wicket stand of 163 in just under 23 overs. A rain delay and early lunch when 41 overs had been bowled did not stop Sri Lanka reaching the highest one day score seen at New Road since 2008 when New Zealand made 358-8.
Saeed Ajmal took 3-42 in his impressive 10 over spell. Matt Mason bowled 5 overs in what proved to be his last appearance for Worcestershire before retiring.
The home side made a very good effort in chasing down the huge total, and for first 30 overs of the innings were ahead of the required run rate. Recovering from the loss of a early wicket in the 3rd over Moeen Ali and Alexei Kervezee set the pace with a 2nd wicket stand of 109. Kervezee made 45 before being caught at slip by Jayasuriya off the bowling of Agnatha Mendis.
Moeen Ali was at his belligerent best with a career best innings of 136 off just 90 deliveries containing 16 boundary fours and 3 huge sixes. A 4th wicket stand of 106 with James Cameron ensured that the home side looked on course to secure an unlikely victory over the tourists. At one stage the home side required just 122 runs to win with 20 overs still to go with Moeen still at the crease.
It was not to be however. Once Moeen was dismissed by Ajantha Mendis, skying a catch to keeper Chandimal the visitors took control of the match. James Cameron scored 65 and Daryl Mitchell 21 but the last 7 wickets fell for 61 runs in just under 13 overs. Malinga wrapped up the innings taking the last two wickets with consecutive deliveries with fast in-swinging yorkers that looked totally unplayable by any batsman, let alone the tail enders. Malinga finished with figures of 3-25 from 6.3 overs, with Ajantha Mendis claiming three wickets. Worcestershire were dismissed 294 in just over 43 overs with Sri Lanka winning by 57 runs.
Sri Lanka (351-5) beat Worcestershire (294) by 57 runs.