England gain useful practice

England’s players gained several useful run-outs and in the process easily beat a Sri Lanka Cricket XI by 80 runs at P.Saravanamuttu Stadium in the 14-a-side warm-up game. The game is the only one before the First ODI and several players put in convincing performances which auger well for their chances in the full series.

Philip Mustard, in the side as a straight replacement for Matthew Prior as a wicketkeeper and opening batsman, played an innings almost straight from Prior’s copybook of struggles, crawling to 17 from 28 balls before Sujeewa de Silva put him out of his misery. Alastair Cook, who was dropped for the final game of the summer in favour of Luke Wright, however, re-asserted his hold on a place with 66, and Ian Bell played almost exactly as he did throughout the series against India. Kevin Pietersen took over when Cook fell in the 29th over, and smashed a 29-ball 50. Ravinder Bopara and Owais Shah also struck the ball and ran well. Bell finished with 131*

The SLC XI lost regular wickets, and only Chamara Kapugedera, 22 (mostly unsuccessful) ODIs already to his name, made any impression, scoring 75. James Anderson took 3 wickets, despite conceding 43 off 8 overs, and Stuart Broad, Ryan Sidebottom and Paul Collingwood shared two. Neither Monty Panesar nor the recalled Graeme Swann made any impression, however, as Panesar went for a-run-a-ball with a single wicket, and Swann for over 5-an-over. Chris Tremlett, too, bowled 4 expensive overs.

The absurdity of the 14-a-side contest was best illustrated by Dimitri Mascarenhas, who was named on the teamsheet but neither batted nor bowled. The real cricket begins on October 1st.

England 314-4 (50 overs)
Ian Bell 131*, Alastair Cook 66, Kevin Pietersen 50
Gihan Rupasinghe 2-66

Sri Lanka Cricket XI 234 (45.2 overs)
Chamara Kapugedera 75, Ashan Priyanjan 30*
James Anderson 3-43, Paul Collingwood 2-18, Ryan Sidebottom 2-27, Stuart Broad 2-34

England won by 80 runs

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