Sri Lanka A Emerging Players v England Lions, Colombo, 1st day February 6, 2014

Lees leads Lions to strong start

ESPNcricinfo staff

England Lions 327 for 5 (Lees 119) v Sri Lanka A Emerging Players

A second top-order batsman showed his potential for England Lions inside a week as Alex Lees made a century to lead his side into a strong position on the opening day of the second tour match in Colombo.

Sam Robson made three figures in the opening fixture and Yorkshire's Lees, 20, here provided more optimism for England supporters left wondering where the national side can turn to after the carnage of the Australia tour.

Lees's fourth first-class century outshone his more highly regarded opening partner, Varun Chopra, who fell for 47, but the pair added 152 for the opening wicket, raising eyebrows at the decision of Mahela Udawatte to bowl first.

After 15 boundaries in 216 balls, Lees fell to Shehan Jayasuriya who also trapped James Taylor, captain for this match, lbw for 47, the type of score Taylor curses - enough to show he's a good player but far from a figure to seduce selectors.

Taylor's dismissal was the first in a mini-collapse of 3 for 42, where the Lions rather gave up their dominance, and when Jonny Bairstow fell five overs from the close for the third middling score on the card, the opposition were left with not such a bad day.

The Lions' preparation for this game included a visit to the Sri Jinananda children's home in Colombo, home to 67 orphaned boys who were each presented with a tennis ball by the players to practise their cricket with.

Lees's practice, with tennis balls or otherwise, proved adequate as he put the Lions in a position from where they can dominate the match.

"I think every hundred that I get is slightly emotional no matter where I am," he told the ECB's website. "I like to think it means the same no matter where I am. But obviously when you're representing your country at any level it's very, very pleasing and that emotion comes in afterwards.

"On the subcontinent the new ball's very important. Me and Varun were fortunate enough to get over that. We had a little bit of luck - I think you always need that in any innings - and we got through that and put on a real good opening first stand."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nicholas on February 8, 2014, 17:51 GMT

    Thank goodness we have some potential openers coming through then. I can't stand watching one more game with Root opening! Keep him [Root] down in the middle please.

  • Dummy4 on February 7, 2014, 16:04 GMT

    Taylor has been treated very badly indeed. It really is time he was given the chance he clearly deserves.

  • Dummy4 on February 7, 2014, 12:44 GMT

    Imagine the lineup for Yorkshires early county championship games... Lees, Root, Williamson, Ballance, Gale, Bairstow, Rashid, Bresnan, Plunket, Patterson, Sidebottom! RUNS!!!

  • Dummy4 on February 7, 2014, 3:27 GMT

    SL must prepare green tops for the unofficial tests to reap benefit of Lions tour.

  • Paulo on February 6, 2014, 17:18 GMT

    Hopefully he can have a decent couple of seasons with Yorkshire.

    Also hope James Taylor has good tour to play himself into his deserved test spot.

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