Sanju Samson scored a magnificent 128 for Board President’s XI in the warm-up game against Sri Lanka at Kolkata. The two-day warm-up game ended in a draw. Sri Lanka plays their first test against India on November 16 at Eden Gardens.
Put into bat first, Sri Lanka scored 411/9 in first innings. Sri Lankan innings was built on the fifties by Samarawickrama (74), Karunaratne (50), Mathews (54) and Dickwella (73). Out of 9 wickets that fell, 3 batsmen (Karunaratne, Mathews, and Chandimal) retired out. Sandeep Warrier was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 2/60.
In reply when Board President’s XI came into bat, captain Chandimal surprised everyone by opening the bowling with Dimuth Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne. The move did pay off as Thirimanne sent Tanmay Agarwal and Akash Bhandari back cheaply. In came skipper Samson at No.4. The Sri Lankans kept Board President’s XI at bay by picking wickets at regular intervals and not allowing a big partnership to build. Meanwhile Samson carried on his wonderful strokeplay and got to his hundred in a real quick time. His 128 came from 143 balls with 19 fours and 1 six at a strike rate of 89.
The thirties from Rohan Prem and Bavanaka Sandeep and 20 from Jalaj Saxena ensured no further damage was done and the match ended in a draw. Board President’s XI ended up at 287/5.
Sanju Samson was a star performer in IPL for Rajasthan Royals in 2013 and 2014. He even made his T20I debut for India against Zimbabwe in July 2015. However, since then he hasn’t scored enough runs to knock the door of selectors and is out of favor now. This is pretty evident from the fact that Rishab Pant, Shreyas Iyer and others who came into recognition much later are in the scheme of things right now. With age on his side, Sanju has a lot of time to convert his potential into stellar performances and definitely should not be written off just yet.
– by Atharva Apte