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Bopara and Taylor blast Lions to victory

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Centuries from Ravi Bopara and captain James Taylor helped England Lions complete a comprehensive seven-wicket victory against Sri Lanka A in the triangular series at New Road.

The hosts bounced back from their defeat to New Zealand A on Friday with a commanding performance, and now face the Black Caps tomorrow in what has essentially become the series decider.

England have two wins from three games after beating Sri Lanka twice, while New Zealand have won both their completed matches after their opener against their fellow tourists was washed out.

Steven Finn took 4-67 as Dinesh Chandimal’s unbeaten 119 underpinned Sri Lanka’s 283 for six from 50 overs.

The Middlesex seamer dismissed both openers cheaply, then returned to claim two wickets in the latter stages as the rest of England’s attack toiled for minimal rewards.

Chandimal, who hit nine fours and two sixes in his 127-ball knock, was ably supported by Ashan Priyanjan and Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who made 42 and 46 respectively, until the pair were dismissed by Bopara and Craig Overton respectively.

James Vince and Alex Hales put on a sprightly 59 inside eight overs for the first wicket, before Hampshire’s Vince was bowled by Seekkuge Prasanna for 32.

Hales fell two overs later to the same bowler for 24, but Bopara and Taylor added 194 for the third wicket.

James Taylor applauds Ravi Bopara's century before going on to record his own ton as England Lions beat Sri Lanka A by seven wickets

Bopara scored at better than a run a ball and fired 13 fours and one six in his innings of 106, before being stumped to give leg-spinner Prasanna a third wicket.

Taylor also completed his ton, finishing unbeaten on 103 as he and Jason Roy recorded victory with 21 balls to spare.

Prasanna was the only visiting bowler to record any success, taking 3-42 from his 10 overs.

Bopara said: "It was a nice performance by the boys.

"We took New Zealand really close as well on Friday but just faltered at the start and lost four wickets for 40 runs, which cost us the game.

"Here we made sure. I don't think 280 in 50 overs is enough. It's like chasing 230-240 in the old days.

"We backed ourselves. We had wickets in hand going into the last 20 overs and then we should win quite easily.

"I think with the two new balls in 50-over cricket it is a bit more difficult up front compared to when it was just the one ball throughout the innings.

"The best thing about it is you've now got the two hard balls when you face the spinners and you can get the boundaries - especially with an extra man having to be up."

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