The Sunday Leader

England Ease To Comprehensive Win In Tour Opener

By Dion Michael

Alastair Cook in action vs the Board XI at the Premadasa Stadium

England eased to a comprehensive innings and 15 run win over a Sri Lankan Board XI in their opening game of their Sri Lankan tour on Saturday.
After the tourists had declared on their overnight 303 for 8 – a first innings lead of 134 – the local side was bundled out for just 119 in their second innings leaving England winners by an innings and 15 runs.
James Anderson, Steven Finn and Graeme Swann each picked up three wickets as the local team offered little resistance. Monty Panesar, who took five wickets in the first innings, chipped in with one wicket at the end of the innings.
The Board XI second innings began disastrously when first innings top scorer Ashen Silva departed in the third ball of the opening over – slashing Anderson straight to Ravi Bopara at point without any runs on the board.
Dimuth Karunaratne and Bhanuka Rajapaksa took the score to 25 before the latter was caught by Grame Swann off Finch for nine.
The tourists soon turned to spin with Swann and Panesar operating in tandem. Panesar found Karunaratne’s edge only for Anderson to spill the chance at slip.
The total had just past 50 when Karunaratne was bowled by Swann for 31 leaving the hosts on a shaky 51 for three. Things soon got worse when skipper Prasanna Jayawardene was out for a duck without any addition to the total.
Finn coming in for his second spell struck in the last ball of his opening over when he had Jayawardene edging to slip where Anderson made no mistake this time.
Skipper Andrew Strauss kept shuffling his bowlers around and Swann struck again shortly before lunch when Sachithra Serasinghe was caught by Cook at short leg as the hosts slumped to 62 for 5 at lunch – still 72 runs adrift.
England began the afternoon session with Anderson and just as he had done in the morning – the paceman struck in his opening over – Roshen Silva (12) guiding the ball to Strauss at first slip without adding to the lunch time score.
Kanishka Alvitigala didn’t stay long giving Swann his third wicket when he edged to Matt Prior behind the stumps. Alvitigala was out without scoring and the hosts were now a dismal 63 for 7.
Dilruwan Perera (6) was next to go edging the impressive Finch to Prior as the total lurched to 79 for 8.
It appeared that the hosts would not reach 100 but the ninth wicket pair of Tyron Gamage (19) and Malinga Bandara (28 not out) had other ideas. The pair set about a counter-attack adding a quick 39 runs before Panesar who had toiled valiantly was finally rewarded with the wicket of Gamage who was trapped leg before.
England needed just one more ball to finish the innings as Anderson dismissed Nilanka Premaratne for a golden duck to leave Bandara stranded at the other end.
The tourists next match begins on March 20 – a three-day game against the Sri Lanka Board Development XI and they will certainly be hoping for some stiffer opposition in order to get in some good match practice.

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