Taylor century sets up series win
England Lions 282 for 9 (Taylor 111, Stokes 73) beat Sri Lanka A 147 (Kerrigan 3-21, Rankin 2-19) by 135 runs
James Taylor's century and Ben Stokes's fifty set up a series-clinching 135-run victory for England Lions over Sri Lanka A at Northampton.
It was Taylor's second hundred in three games and helped the Lions bounce back emphatically from their 10-wicket drubbing the game before. Taylor and Stokes helped the Lions recover from 38 for 3 to post 282 before the bowlers finished the job in style, skittling Sri Lanka A for 147 with over 20 overs to spare.
It was a captain's innings in the old sense from Taylor, anchoring the recovery at one end while Stokes was more positive from the other. Tharanga Lakshitha had done the early damage taking each of the first three wickets before the fightback started.
The pair added 98 with Stokes reaching his fifty first - from 45 balls - hitting seven fours and three sixes in his 65-ball 73. He fell just past the half-way stage to legspinner Seekkuge Prasanna. Though he had time to score plenty more his contribution would not have gone unnoticed by the England selectors who will be considering their squad for the upcoming India series.
Taylor was more restrained, taking 91 balls to make his half-century but steadily increased his pace as the innings wore on. At one stage - when the Lions slipped to 178 for 6 - it looked as though he may run out of partners but James Harris offered him sound support with 29. It took Taylor just 37 deliveries to go from fifty to his century and by the time he was last man out in the final over, he had struck eight fours and a six in his 111.
283 looked a challenging target and it proved much too difficult for the visitors. The promising four-pronged seam attack, which included Ireland's Boyd Rankin for the first time, shared seven wickets, while Lancashire left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan took the other three. The chase was as good as done by the third over when Sri Lanka A were reduced to 7 for 3.
Captain Dimuth Karunaratne resisted grimly for 30 from 43 balls in a stand with Sachithra Chaturanga, who made 35. Aside from them, though, wickets kept tumbling. It needed a 38-run ninth-wicket stand to push Sri Lanka A towards 150 but Kerrigan and Woakes finished off the match to give the Lions the series.