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Robust Robson steers Lions to series win

Sam Robson’s defiant 146 not out secured a series victory for England Lions over Sri Lanka A via a draw in Colombo.

Robson had 18 of the tourists’ overnight 39 for one, a lead of 161, and he batted throughout the fourth and final day at the Premadasa Stadium as Chris Woakes’ side closed on 273 for five to earn a 1-0 scoreline.

Though three wickets for senior international spinner Suraj Randiv reduced the Lions to 123 for five, Robson shared an unbroken 150-run stand with Varun Chopra who was batting at seven due to illness yesterday.

Robson’s ton was his second of the rubber, third of the tour and fifth of the winter after two for the England Performance Programme in Australia. His first-innings 142 at Dambulla followed victory at Pallekele in the first of three ‘Tests’.

Robson, 24, who played some beautiful drives through the covers on a pitch offering turn and uneven bounce, lost three partners in a tricky morning session as the hosts pushed for the win they needed to share series.

Randiv, who has 12 Tests to his name, had Scott Borthwick caught behind for 18 and cheaply bowled James Taylor before Dushmantha Chameera ousted Jonny Bairstow for 13.

Thirteen also proved unlucky for Woakes as he went lbw to Randiv, who bowled with precision and patience to return an impressive 3-85 from 36 overs.

Chopra was unable to field yesterday as Sri Lanka A were dismissed for 339, so he came in at Woakes’ downfall shortly after lunch.

Robson and Chopra, batting in caps, held firm for 46 overs as home captain Upul Tharanga used nine bowlers but was not able to find another breakthrough.

Chopra was unbeaten on 53, his second fifty of the game and third of the series, while Robson hit 16 fours in the 272 balls he faced.

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