By Srian Obeyesekere
England’s batsmen continued to hit top gear as in the opening warm up match when they amassed 354 for 3 wickets with opening batsman Zak Crawley striking his second century and skipper Joe Root an unbeaten 90 and Oley Page on 84 against a Sri Lanka Cricket Board XI on Thursday at the P. Saravanamuththu International Stadium.
It was the ideal start England could have looked to ahead of the first Test against Sri Lanka starting on March 19 in Galle. Crawley’s 105 came off 145 balls inclusive of 11 boundaries. He was associated in a 103-run opening alliance with Dom Sibley who made 37 off 92 balls containing 5 boundaries before the latter was caught by Samarawickrema off the bowling of Rashantha Mendis. Crawley continued the good work putting on a further 72 for the second wicket with Joe Denly who made 26 before holing out a catch to Minod Bhanuka off Shehan Jayasuriya and England were 175 for 2.
Crawley followed 4 runs later when he was bowled by Mohammad Shiraz for 105. That was all the Board XI would get for the day as Joe Root and Ollie Pope combined in an unbroken fourth wicket Stand of 175. Root’s 122-ball knock contained 8 boundaries while Pope’s 120-ball innings was packed with 7 boundaries.
England 354/ 3 (90 Overs)
(Z. Crawley 105, J.E. Root n.o. 90, O.J. Pope n.o. 84, D.P. Sibley 37, J.L. Denly 26, M. Shiraz 1/55, N,G,R, P.Jayasuriya 1/108, R.T.M. Mendis 1/100)