England Lions romped to a 4-wicket win over Sri Lanka A in the first of three unofficial ODI with 58 balls to spare at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium on Monday. Sri Lanka’s decision to bat first on winning the toss backfired as the hosts lost their top four batsmen for 25 runs in 8.2 overs before Skipper Sadeera Samarawickrama 74 off 86 balls and Sahan Arachchige 57 off 80 steadied the innings adding 121 for the fifth wicket off 139 balls. The Lankan collapse saw opening batsman Avishka Fernando dismissed for a duck by Saqib Mahmood who had him snapped up by Sam Cook, Nuwanidu Fernando also sent back by Mahmood for 2 caught by Jack Haynes while debutante opening batsman Lasith Croospulle was trapped leg before wicket for 4 by Sam Cook before Angelo Matthews recalled to the ODI stage, after a very long hiatus, fall for 13 off Cook to a catch by James Rew.
England Lions sealed the game making 231 for 6 off 40-2 overs on Sam Hain’s run a ball 52 (5×4)’, James Bethell 50 off 58 (4×7) and Jordan Cox’s 46 off 48 (3×4, 1×6) against a Lankan attack that lacked the desired penetration. The game though proved to be a good debuting for Sahan Arachchige who followed up his stoic half century that included 4 boundaries by accounting for the wicket of Jaccob Bethell. Samarawickrama’s innings contained 4 hits to the ropes while Chamika Karunaratne added the tempo to the Lankan innings with a 45-ball 52 fine edged by 5 boundaries and 2 over the top as only four host team batsmen reached double figures.
The Lions pacie Mahmood returned fine figures of 3 for 27 in a return from a short back injury lay off as the 25-year old Lancashire and England player broke the early Lankan batting with two scalps at the top.
Debutante Dushan Hemantha triggered the hosts late fight back claiming 3 for 50.
CHIEF SCORES: Sri Lanka A 230 (45-1 Overs) (Sadeera Samarawickrama 74, Sahan Arachchige 57, Chamika Karunaratne 52, Angelo Matthews 13, Saqib. Mahmood 3/27, Jacob Bethell 2/50). England Lions 231/6 (40.2 Overs) (Sam Hain 52′ Jacob Bethell 50, Jordan Cox 46, Tom Prest 27, Jack Haynes 25′, James Rew 13, Matt Critchley n.o. 5, Tom Hartley n.o. 3, Dushan Hemantha 3/50, Praveen Jayawickrama 2/52)