England Lions made to toil by triple-century stand

Sri Lanka A 333 for 3 (Samarawickrama 177*, Karunaratne 140*) trail England Lions 353 (Livingstone 105, Westley 68, Pushpakumara 8-127) by 20 runs

England Lions were put to the sword by an unbroken stand of 303 on the second day in Dambulla. Test opener Dimuth Karunaratne and 21-year-old Sadeera Samarawickrama gorged themselves during the latter two sessions to put Sri Lanka A in control.

The Lions had extended their total to 353 and when Sri Lanka A stumbled to 30 for 3 it looked a formidable score. But that changed dramatically as the day wore on, and it was Samarawickrama who led the way to finish unbeaten on a career-best 177 from 219 deliveries.

He was given one life, on 90, when Tom Curran could not hold a leading edge off Jack Leach but otherwise it was a dominant performance. It was an expensive day for Leach, who missed the opening game after feeling uncertain about his remodelled action, as he finished with 0 for 76 from 12 overs.

For Karunaratne this series is a chance to find some form ahead of the Test series against Bangladesh. He chipped in against South Africa, with scores of 43, 24 and 50 alongside three single-figure innings, but he had not reached 20 in his previous six completed first-class innings which included two failures in the opening match against the Lions.

This time he survived the new ball and began to prosper against a tiring Lions attack. By the end of the day he had struck 15 boundaries in his 216-ball stay.

The picture looked very different during the morning session. Tom Curran struck in his second over to have Udara Jayasundera, who carried his bat in the second innings of the previous match, caught behind and Ron Chandraguptha went the same way against Toby Roland-Jones.

When Ollie Rayner trapped Sandun Weerakkody lbw sweeping the Lions were buoyant, but that proved the last moment of success on what became a day of toil. They are not the first England side to feel that in Asia this season.

Sri Lanka A 4th innings Partnerships

1st12MDUS JayasunderaRK Chandraguptha
2nd6MDUS JayasunderaDS Weerakkody
3rd16MDUS JayasunderaS Samarawickrama
4th34MDUS JayasunderaDM de Silva
5th10FDM KarunaratneDM de Silva
6th4FDM KarunaratneARS Silva
7th0FDM KarunaratneJDF Vandersay
8th8PM PushpakumaraJDF Vandersay