England news February 8, 2014

Plunkett revives England memories

ESPNcricinfo staff

England Lions 327 for 5 dec and 289 for 6 dec (Bairstow 117, Plunkett 114) drew with Sri Lanka A Emerging Players 153 (Borthwick 4-25, Kerrigan 3-31) and 177 for 4 (Warnapura 50, De Silva 54)

England Lions failed to force victory on a decent pitch and settled for a draw in their warm-up game against Sri Lanka A Emerging Players after the Yorkshire pair Jonny Bairstow and Liam Plunkett had both made hundreds.

Bairstow and Plunkett, who resumed on 58 and 34 respectively, hit 117 and 114 as the Lions struck 289 for six declared in their second innings to set Sri Lanka A Emerging Players a nominal 464 to win. Madawa Warnapura and Chaturanga de Silva scored half-centuries as they reached 177 for 4 by the close.

Simon Kerrigan, who had such a traumatic Test debut against Australia at The Oval last year, took two more wickets and finished with heartening match figures of 5 for 81.

For Plunkett, a career-best score represented the continuation of a turnaround that began following his move to Yorkshire last year. He had fallen away at Durham as he struggled to groove his action and looked a far cry from the promising bowler worthy of a Test debut at 20. His move to Yorkshire has refuelled his passions for the game.

"I am at the stage now where I am 28 and last year I fell back in love with cricket," Plunkett said. "After a couple of years that were a bit of a downer, last year I really loved cricket. I have been excited to play and I was looking forward to coming out to Sri Lanka with Yorkshire in three or four weeks. To come out a bit earlier is good fun.

A bowling all-rounder, Plunkett struck 11 fours and four sixes in a 140-ball innings. Bairstow was no less impressive, ending with 14 boundaries - two of which were maximums - that typified a pugnacious effort.

ESPNcricinfo will provide full coverage of the England Lions' three four-day Test matches against Sri Lanka A in Kandy, Dambulla and Colombo in the next three weeks.