England A gain the advantage

The Sri Lankans toiled as Gloucestershire’s Jon Lewis ripped through their upper-order with four quick wickets in the morning, leaving England on top. The visitors were bowled out for just 179 with no-one passing 50 whilst England went on to score 96 for the loss of two wickets by the close of play.

Lewis’ progress early on allied with two vital wickets in the lower-order allowed Liam Plunkett to take three wickets whist Rikki Clarke, another player with an England cap to his name but who hadn’t represented his country at international level for considerable time, chipped in with one wicket.

Michael Vandort became Lewis’ first victim when he fell to the first ball of the match, Alex Loudon, Warwickshire’s off-spinning all-rounder, took the catch. Upul Tharanga, Vandort’s opening partner, didn’t last much longer – he nicked one to wicket-keeper Chris Read, his first catch of four in the day.

Kumar Sangakkara, 20, and Mahela Jayawardene, 16, were also victims to the Lewis-Read combination as Sri Lanka dug themselves deeper into trouble.

Rikki Clarke managed to take the wicket of Thilan Samaraweera for nought before some lower-order resistance kicked in for the visitors: Tillakaratne Dilshan fought well for a deserved 47; Chamara Kapugedera, one of the few players in the side yet to make his test debut, fell to Lewis having made 36.

Farveez Maharoof managed to last over fifty-minutes for his 19 and Chaminda Vaas also bided his time to contribute with a score of 16 before being bowled by Plunkett. When Lasith Malinga was caught behind by Read off the bowling of Plunkett, Sri Lanka’s innings ended on 179.

In reply, England made a slightly shaky start: Alistair Cook was out to Vaas for a duck and Owais Shah scored just 18 before he went to Kulasekara. However, England A’s captain, Rob Key, ended the day with just four more runs to make a half-century and Ed Joyce was also unbeaten on 24.

Sri Lanka 179

Tillakaratne Dilshan 47, Chamara Kapugedera 36
Jon Lewis 6/49, Liam Plunkett 3/47

England 96/2

Rob Key 46*, Ed Joyce 24*
Chaminda Vaas 1/23, Nuwan Kulasekara 1/36

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