Taylor hundred sets up Lions win
England Lions 310 for 8 (Taylor 106, Bairstow 59) beat Sri Lanka A 213 (Thirimanne 61, Meaker 3-40) by 97 runs
James Taylor's 106 and a buccaneering 26-ball 59 from Jonny Bairstow set up England Lions' 97-run win over Sri Lanka A at New Road.
Having been inserted after losing the toss Taylor, who made 76 and 98 in the four-day fixture against the same opposition last week, ensured his side posted a tough target by anchoring the innings. Joe Root offered bright support initially with a boundary-studded 62 from 66 balls. On a day when his England batting rival Ravi Bopara made 7 against India, Taylor's century was excellently timed.
Though less expansive than Root - and later Bairstow - Taylor was still positive. He struck seven boundaries and a six in all, bringing up his century from 115 balls. His partnership with Bairstow, though, was the biggest entertainment of the day. Coming in with 9.1 overs left in the innings he bashed the ball to all parts.
In 26 deliveries he smashed four fours and four sixes getting to his half-century in 22 balls. After he was out with 15 balls left a flurry of wickets followed but the 311 set for victory always looked a difficult task.
Sri Lanka A weren't really up to the chase with only 21-year-old Lahiru Thirimanne, who has had a good tour so far, showing any resistance with the only half-century in the innings until he fell to Scott Borthwick's first delivery, a leg-break that beat his defences.
Steven Finn struck early, castling Dimuth Karunaratne in his second over, but it was Surrey's Stuart Meaker who took the most wickets with three. Borthwick's 10 overs of legspin yielded two wickets, and only cost 42 runs, his second scalp a lovely googly to remove Kanishka Alvitigala.
"I'm delighted to get my first win as captain under my belt and to get a century after getting so close last week in Scarborough was really pleasing," Taylor said. "I thought we played well today. We got a decent total and then put them under real pressure from start. It was a solid performance with bat and ball and we'll be looking to continue that on Sunday."
With only two more games to go, the tourists will have to fight back immediately.