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Batsmen leave Lions in command

Sam Robson and James Taylor prospered as another day of domination left England Lions on course to build a substantial lead over Sri Lanka A in the second 'Test'.

Already 1-0 ahead in the three-game series, the Lions could go a long way to sealing a series victory tomorrow after closing on 291 for four in response to their hosts' 289 all out.

It was Robson who led the way today, continuing his stunning winter for England's representative teams with a fine 142 from the top of the order.

That laid the platform for an equally important, if more fluent, effort from Taylor, who ended on 99 not out having struck 13 fours in a 147-ball stay.

The tone was set immediately in Dambulla as Liam Plunkett gave England the dream start, having Lahiru Gamage taken at first slip by Varun Chopra to wrap up Sri Lanka’s innings for the addition of just eight runs.

Lahiru Gamage found some early movement with the new ball in the reply, having Alex Lees caught behind.

Varun Chopra was initially up to the challenge, foregoing his natural fluency in hitting 28 off 79 deliveries.

However, he fell in identical fashion to Gamage amid Robson looking in good touch at the other end.

That was to be the story of the day for the Middlesex opener, who looked in complete control throughout – especially when he was joined by Taylor.

The duo proceeded to put the Lions in command as they shared in a superb, 197-run partnership that appeared to sap Sri Lanka’s energy.

It came to an end when Robson, having batted for 255 balls and hit 17 fours, clipped a Tharindu Kaushal full toss straight to midwicket.

Kaushal grabbed another before the close, castling nightwatchman Ollie Rayner, yet that did not detract from an exceptional day for the tourists.