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Pope leads England to dominant position

Sri Lanka U-19s 96 for 2 (Asalanka 55*) trail England U-19s 500 for 9 dec (Westbury 196, Pope 78) by 404 runs
Scorecard

England Under-19s dominated with the bat on the second day of their match against Sri Lanka, declaring at 500-9 and then making inroads with the ball as the tourists moved to 96 for 2 at stumps.

After rain delayed start to the day, play finally got underway at 1.40pm with Worcestershire's Olly Westbury looking to build on his overnight score of 157. But he fell short of his double-century by just four runs after being caught at first slip by Avishka Fernando from a slow Damitha Silva delivery. His four-session stay at the crease saw him face 379 balls, hitting 16 fours and one six.

Wicketkeeper Ollie Pope who started the day on 9 was caught by Lahiru Kumara for 78 after a wild swing at Daniel, quickly followed by two balls later by Durham's Josh Coughlin, caught by Avishka Fernando for 14.

Sri Lanka spent a second day frustrated in the field, with their best efforts coming after Aaron Beard and George Panayi were run out from direct hits off Fernando and Rashmika Dilshan.

After England declared at tea at 500 for 9, Warwickshire's George Panayi struck first with the ball for England, luring Pathum Nissanka into a nick to the wicketkeeper Pope for just 5. Dilan Jayalath then gave Surrey spinner Amar Virdi England's second wicket when he hit the ball into the hands of a diving Panayi on 23.

"I was a bit disappointed not to get 100, but I knew we were going to declare about 15 minutes later so gave it a good go," Pope said. "We got two big wickets, with both their openers out, and we knew this wicket was going to be tough because it is pretty flat. Luckily we got an early wicket but then they started to build a partnership.

"We knew before we came out that we would have to work hard for every wicket as we knew they wouldn't just roll over. It was a pretty tough day for me. Normally I get a bit of time to put my feet up between batting and keeping, so today has been really tiring.

"We can't play for the weather tomorrow, but we will be aiming to get 4 or 5 wickets by lunch so if the rain doesn't come we can bowl them out by the end of the day."

The tourists regrouped with a flurry of boundaries to finish the day, as captain Charith Asalanka moved past a half-century. But with more rain forecast, England will need to take early wickets on Thursday to force home their advantage and give themselves a chance of victory.