Lions triumphant in Pallekele
England Lions’ bowlers completed a fine team performance as Sri Lanka A were swept aside by 167 runs in the first ‘Test’.
The tourists have dominated since the second act of the opening four-day game and, while victory took a little longer than expected, the margin was still comprehensive.
The hosts, having resumed on 164 for five in pursuit of a nominal 479, showed plenty of fight today as Madawa Warnapura took his overnight 30 to 108.
But Liam Plunkett, who also instigated a run-out, grabbed his second and third wickets, including that of Warnapura, while Moeen Ali and Tymal Mills chipped in with one apiece to dismiss Sri Lanka for 312.
It appeared England would quickly wrap up the win this morning as Plunkett made his presence felt immediately, running out Ishan Jayaratne.
Dhammika Prasad did not last much longer, ousted by Mills – for whom the wicket represented just reward after his fine bowling had gone unrewarded yesterday.
Yet Roshen Silva, who hit 63 not out, responded outstandingly alongside Warnapura as the duo put on a fine 113-run stand.
When the wicket finally came, it was Plunkett who struck with Warnapura’s fine knock coming to an end via a feather behind.
Tharindu Kaushal was not able to follow his predecessor’s heroics, off-spinner Moeen pinning him in front for a second scalp.
And Plunkett was on hand to wrap things up, castling Vishwa Fernando to leave the Lions well placed with two ‘Tests’ remaining in the rubber.