By Matthew Sherry
England Lions moved into a dominant position versus Sri Lanka A as 15 wickets fell on the second day in Pallekele.
Having resumed their first innings on 299 for nine, England’s last-wicket pair of Tymal Mills and Graham Onions belied the carnage that was to come by taking their stand to 35 and securing a total of 330.
That was to prove more than sufficient when a Chris Woakes-inspired bowling attack skittled the home side for 171.
The Lions endured some struggles second time around but, boasting a lead of 264 having closed on 105 for four, looked in fine shape by stumps.
It was in the early overs that the tone was set for the visitors as Onions hit 22 not out and Mills 15. The latter ultimately fell to Dhammika Prasad yet, by then, the Lions were more than satisfied.
Satisfaction soon turned to jubilation as Woakes ousted Udara Jayasundera and Bhanuka Rajapaksa with the innings’ third and fourth balls, the latter owing much to a stunning, one-handed diving catch from Liam Plunkett.
Madawa Warnapura safely negotiated the hat-trick ball but did not last much longer, departing to the brilliant Woakes for three.
It was soon 51 for five when Onions and Plunkett got in on the act, Niroshan Dickwella and Roshen Silva falling lbw and caught behind respectively.
Amid the carnage, experienced skipper Upul Tharanga had remained resolute. However, off-spinner Moeen Ali snared his prized scalp to further derail Sri Lanka.
The home side were rescued from even further trouble by Chaturanga de Silva and Prasad, the duo hitting 47 and 50 respectively to at least ensure a total beyond 150.
They would not manage much more, however, as further scalps for Moeen and Woakes were aided by two run-outs.
To their credit, Sri Lanka showed good fight thereafter as de Silva picked up three breakthroughs, trapping Alex Lees and Sam Robson leg before and having James Taylor caught by Rajapaksa.
Tharindu Kaushal also snared a wicket, pinning Varun Chopra lbw. Even so, Chopra’s 24 had combined with 33 for Lees, 15 for Robson and 15 for Taylor to extend the tourists’ advantage.
Moeen then further added to that with successive sixes off Kaushal, ultimately ending alongside Plunkett on 12 not out at the close.