Lions strike after setting Sri Lanka A 365

Sri Lanka A 167 and 41 for 2 (Jayasundera 18*, Silva 7*) need a further 324 to beat England Lions 316 and 215 (Dilruwan 5-73, Pushpakumara 4-77)

England Lions set an imposing target and then took two early wickets on a rain-interrupted third day of the first unofficial Test with Sri Lanka A. Having recovered from 85 for 6 to post 215, Tom Curran removed Dimuth Karunaratne with the first ball of the fourth innings and Toby Roland-Jones had Sandun Weerakkody, Sri Lanka A's top-scorer first time around, lbw for 16.

Tom Curran and his brother Sam had played a central role with the bat, too, having extended their seventh-wicket partnership to 62. Dilruwan Perera then struck three times to complete a five-wicket haul before rain caused a delay of more than four hours.

When the teams finally got back out, Ollie Rayner and Tom Helm held off the Sri Lanka A spinners to put on another valuable tenth-wicket stand. Helm was last out for 26, one run short of equalling his first-class best, as he and Middlesex team-mate Rayner added exactly 50 in 21.5 overs.

That left Sri Lanka A facing a stiff requirement of 365 to win and they were quickly in trouble at 19 for 2. Rayner could have struck with the ball in the fading light, too, but Udara Jayasundera and Roshen Silva both survived chances to slip.

The start of play was moved forward by 15 minutes to try and make up for time lost on the second day. The Lions already had a lead of 261 and the Currans set about extending it, both striking an early boundary.

Sam Curran had reached 36 when when he was pinned lbw by Dilruwan, who also had Tom Curran stumped, for 29, in his next over. Roland-Jones, having cracked a belligerent 82 in the first innings, was taken at slip for 7 but Sri Lanka A had to wait several hours to separate the final pair, Malinda Pushpakumara eventually taking the second new ball to claim his fourth wicket and match figures of 8 for 174.