Sri Lanka A v England Lions, 5th unofficial ODI, Colombo February 6, 2012

Root ton helps England seal series

ESPNcricinfo staff

England Lions 330 for 6 (Root 110*, Buttler 64) beat Sri Lanka A 213 (Udawatte 52, Briggs 3-27) by 117 runs

As England were spinning to defeat in the third Test against Pakistan, the next generation had just secured an encouraging victory on the subcontinent. The Lions, featuring several players likely to be included in the senior England squad to play Pakistan in the ODIs, clinched their series against Sri Lanka A 3-2 after a resounding 117-run win in Colombo.

The victory was set up by Joe Root's first limited-overs hundred - as well as another thunderous cameo from Jos Buttler - before England's spinners, Samit Patel and Danny Briggs, cleaned up Sri Lanka for combined figures of 6 for 82. Buttler, Briggs and Patel are all in the frame for England's one-day squad, which will be announced tomorrow, and their performances may have provided the selectors with a crumb or two of comfort as they begin to sift through the wreckage of their Test whitewashing.

The series win comes after the Lions had lost 3-2 in Bangladesh last month and ECB performance director David Parsons was particularly pleased with the team's display, suggesting that it boded well for England.

"Today was the nearest thing possible to a complete batting performance in these conditions and befits a series win," Parsons said. "The batters demonstrated the learning that has been invested since this squad embarked on the performance camp in India in November and December, followed by a tough tour in Bangladesh and now in Sri Lanka in 2012.

"These are also the skills that are required to help take England forward in playing in these conditions and things that we are determined to keep working on."

Root finished the innings unbeaten, having come in at No. 3, as the Lions persisted with the experiment of Patel opening. The allrounder struck a rapid 50 in the previous match but made just 19 here, while Alex Hales departed for 46 to bring the captain James Taylor together with Root. They added a patient 86, Taylor contributing 41 - his first real score since the Lions left Bangladesh - but the innings went into overdrive shortly after his dismissal, Buttler scoring two-thirds of the runs in an association with Root worth 97. The Somerset batsman's 31-ball innings contained five sixes and five fours.

Jonny Bairstow, who has already broken into England's ODI side, thumped three more sixes as the Lions set a plus-300 target for the second time in the series. The hosts set off with an eye to matching the run rate - Chris Woakes saw his three overs disappear for 25 - but managed just one 50-run partnership as a series of top-order batsmen got in and got out. When Patel removed Mahela Udawatte their chances effectively disappeared and left-arm spinner Briggs was able to mop up the tail with almost 10 overs still to bowl.

"We were particularly pleased with the approach that we took to their spinners on a used pitch, and showed that with hard work we can play on the subcontinent," Taylor said. "Playing intelligently, but with appropriate aggression, it is possible to overcome a good bowling attack on these wickets."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on February 7, 2012, 10:28 GMT

    @hhillbumper on (February 06 2012, 19:12 PM GMT) From the scorecards I've looked at Taylor's not done too well over there

  • Sarath on February 7, 2012, 4:42 GMT

    The picking of Warnapura, Bandara, Khandamby & Thusara who are too old compared to their counterparts & Udawatte, Janith, Gunathilake, Kosala as batters,whose 1st Cla Bat. Aves. are 31+,28+,26+. 25+ respectively expose the ignorance of selectors with regard to the matters related to pick talented young. They've always preferred risky stroke-makers as front-liners, who try to survive with edgy &lofted strokes & don't have proper technique to play the ball all along the ground. The selectors are the main culprits of we're being a very inconsistent team for the last 25 years & also have created a wrong impression among International Cricket Community about the talent we have in this Country. These jokers have always had a disliking for technically sound (those who have total control over strokes they execute) batters the likes of A'pattu, S'weera who can play a lengthy innings with minimum of risks. After all, the Game of Cricket at National Level is not a place to entertain henchmen.

  • Sarath on February 7, 2012, 4:42 GMT

    Both Dimuth & Bhanuka are 2 extremely talented players that had always been among the best 10 Schoolboy Cricketers of the year since their very young age as 15 & the two with 1st Class Batting Aves. around 45, performing this manner can be always expected however, we can't expect the same, from some favorites of selectors who have found places in the team for no valid reason, If the selectors had employed few of truly promising consistent batters the likes of AngeloP, Kaushal S, RoshenS, Ashen Silva, SSerasinghe, RBuddika, Udara J, Umesh K who maintains 1st Cla Bat. Aves. 45+,45+51+,49+, ,45+,40.+,39.+respectively, we could have easily won the previous 2 matches as well. As for bowlers they should have selected extremely talented bowlers the likes of Malinda P'kumara, Dulanjana M, Umesh K, CJayampathi and Rohan Jayatissa who've been very consistent performers in the domestic scene & maintain 1st Cla Bat. Aves. 19+, 17+,28+,16+& 14+ respectively. (to be CNTD)

  • Nilantha on February 6, 2012, 22:42 GMT

    the England lions team would be welcome to play more in SL,PROVIDED the same offer is extended to our A team also as its just as important for our future players to get used to seaming and swinging wickets...sounds like a plan...

  • stuart on February 6, 2012, 19:12 GMT

    We need to spend more time in Sub Continental conditions to learn how to play there and this is a step forwards.It would also appear we need to spend time in the Middle East a bit more often as well. Butler does look good as does Taylor. Never seen Root bat so can't say.Bairstow needs to play more first class cricket. Maybe England A should camp out in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka for a while

  • John on February 6, 2012, 19:11 GMT

    Well done Lions.A few crumbs of comfort after the seniors batting performances, albeit vs lesser players.I seriously would like to see some/many of these players playing against Pakistan in the senior side.I think the majority of our senior batsmen should go to SL and see if they can get some extra games/more practice. I feel our bowlers would be better served doing this too or resting up rather than risking burnout-esp in Broad/Jimmy's case.Therefore (inc a few senior players) the side could be something like Hales ,Kieswetter, Root, Buttler, Morgan,Bairstow,Patel,Bresnan ,Woakes,Buck,Briggs . I've not included Bopara because he could travel on with the seniors.Same with Finn.I liked the team Botham selected but that included seniors who I'd rather go on earlier to SL.The other suggestion was Davies for Kieswetter. Not totally against that although I thought Craig was one of our better batsmen in India.PS it's a shame I've not seen any of the Lions tour televised - not even snippets.

  • David on February 6, 2012, 18:56 GMT

    Very encouraging indeed. Perhaps one or two of these youngsters will get a chance in the test side when England tour in a month or two.

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