Buttler serves up victory for England Lions
England Lions 335 for 5 (Buttler 102, Hales 94) beat Sri Lanka A 267 (Kandamby 54, Buck 4-39) by 68 runs
Somerset's young wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler confirmed some of his potential as one of the most promising of England's one-day prospects, with the first limited-overs century of his career against Sri Lanka A in Dambulla. Buttler hammered a 56-ball hundred to build on the good work from another tyro, Alex Hales, and his Somerset team-mate Craig Kieswetter as England Lions racked up 335 for 5 on their way to a 68-run win in the first unofficial ODI.
Another fresh face, that of Nathan Buck, did the damage with the ball, outshining the more experienced opening pair of Jade Dernbach and Chris Woakes to take 4 for 39 as Sri Lanka were dismissed for 267. Samit Patel also chipped in with three wickets to remind the selectors of his ample abilities ahead of England's forthcoming one-day commitments in the United Arab Emirates.
Sri Lanka A, whose line-up included full internationals of the calibre of Surav Randiv, Thilina Kandamby and Seekkuge Prasanna, got their reply off to a brisk start but lost wickets at regular intervals. Despite contributions right down the order, they were bowled out with 27 balls of their innings remaining, with Kandamby's 54 the top score.
England's performance showcased the talents of several of their next generation. Hales, who fell six short of his own hundred, and Buttler have already played in a handful of Twenty20 internationals, while James Taylor, the Lions captain, and Jonny Bairstow have been introduced to one-day international cricket in the last 12 months.
Taylor had expressed the hope that England's batsmen would click in Sri Lanka but, after losing the toss and being put in, the Lions fell to 47 for 2 in the 10th over. Following Joe Root's dismissal for 18, Taylor managed just 5, to bring his tally in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to 181 from eight innings. That brought Bairstow to wicket, however, and he and Hales put on 120 in 23 overs to regain the momentum, before the Yorkshire man fell to Kosala Kulasakera for 47.
Hales went shortly after but Kieswetter helped up the tempo with a 38-ball 50 - before becoming Thilan Thushara's third wicket - as he and Buttler added 100 in 12 overs. The 21-year-old Buttler then saw to it that England would post an unassailable total, adding 56 in partnership with Patel from the final four overs - of which Patel's contribution amounted to a seven-ball 5.