Scott Borthwick revelled in a fine team display after England Lions moved to the brink of victory in the first ‘Test’ against Sri Lanka A.
The tourists ended the penultimate day in complete control with Sri Lanka 164 for five, chasing 479.
That they required such a total was thanks to Borthwick and Chris Woakes, who – with England on 164 for seven – shared in a pivotal 155-run stand.
Borthwick hit 64 and Woakes 92 not out as the Lions made it almost impossible for the hosts to contemplate victory.
“It was a massive day,” he told ecb.co.uk. “I think we set that up at the start; we obviously needed a big partnership this morning and thankfully me and Woakesy got that.
“Their spinners bowled very well and their off-spinner is quite tricky to play and he’s got the doosra.
“Me and Woakesy had a plan to bat time and built a partnership. Luckily me and Woakesy got through and got a good partnership.
“It put us in a good position and to take five wickets on a good pitch is fantastic; I thought the seam bowlers bowled brilliantly.”
Upon Borthwick’s dismissal, skipper Woakes unselfishly headed off with his partner rather than pursue what would have been a deserved century.
The move proved a masterstroke as England utilised the 20 minutes before tea to grab two wickets, Graham Onions and Woakes himself the men to strike.
“I am not sure why (he walked off) on 92 not out,” joked Borthwick. “No, but obviously we had 20 minutes before tea, by which time we had them two down. It was a fantastic decision.
“Woakesy and Bunny Onions bowled brilliantly with the new ball, made them play and brought the nicks into play. And we managed to take our catches as well, which helps.”
Borthwick was unable to follow up his batting exploits in the same manner as Woakes, going wicketless in five overs.
However, he is aiming to put that right tomorrow as England attempt to wrap up a comprehensive success.
“It felt alright and there was a little bit of spin,” he added. “Obviously they came hard at me and played a few big shots but that is not a worry.
“Hopefully I will come back better and stronger tomorrow. I will have a crack and hopefully get some wickets for us to win the game.
“It’s been a great start to the series but, like I say, we need a big push tomorrow to get those five wickets and seal a great win.”