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Lions in control on lifeless pitch

England Lions will take a 161-run lead into the last day of the third and final 'Test' against Sri Lanka A following a gutsy bowling performance in Colombo.

Simon Kerrigan took four wickets, while Tymal Mills and Graham Onions claimed three each as the hosts slipped from 254 for two to 339 all out.

England lost Alex Lees for seven but closed the day on 39 for one, giving them a lead of 161 runs in a match the hosts must win to avoid a series defeat.

Graham Onions got in on the act on day three with two wickets, taking his tally for the innings to three as England's bowlers shoneUpul Tharanga dug in well for Sri Lanka A to score 149 and he enjoyed a 187-run second-wicket partnership with Madawa Warnapura, but Kerrigan was rewarded when he had the latter caught behind for 71.

And the Lancashire spinner’s removal of Bhanuka Rajapaksa began the collapse, England Lions being rewarded for their aggressive fielding positions as they bid to force a result despite leading the series 1-0.

The hosts, on the other hand, seemed content to bat slowly on a baking hot day, with a wicket showing no signs of breaking up.

Warnapura began the morning by completing a fifty but neither he or Tharanga could record any more landmarks, with the former falling 19 short of a ton having faced 213 deliveries - and his captain one away from 150.

It was the impressive Mills who finally ended Tharanga’s stay, finding an edge that was taken by Jonny Bairstow behind the stumps.

Mills accounted for Roshen Silva before Kerrigan added Jeevan Mendis to his list of victims, leaving Sri Lanka 275 for six.

Onions then got himself in on the act, with the scalps of both Suraj Randiv and Lahiru Gamage, but the hosts’ tail wagged as Niroshan Dickwella hit 39 to take his side past 300. Mills ended his fun by finding an edge which found its way to Bairstow before Kerrigan wrapped things up by removing Dushmantha Chameera in the same fashion.

Lees could not make it to the end of the day undefeated, but Sam Robson and Scott Borthwick will come back tomorrow on 18 and 10 respectively.

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