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Preparation was key - Woakes

England Lions skipper Chris Woakes hailed his side’s professionalism in the series victory against Sri Lanka A.

Sam Robson’s unbeaten 147 helped secure a draw on the final day of the third Test in Colombo, which sealed a 1-0 win.

All-rounder Woakes starred in the first innings with a brilliant 137, his partnership with Scott Borthwick taking England from 172 for five to 369 for six.

Woakes, who also hit an unbeaten 92 and took six match wickets at Pallekele in the first Test, was left thrilled with the way his side performed throughout the tour.

He said: “First of all our preparation was really good. The two warm-up games we took very seriously and set out to win them, not just to get some match time. That got us used to the conditions, used to the heat early doors.

“As a bowling attack we executed our plans very well and as batsmen we played spin particularly well, as well as I’ve seen guys playing in the sub-continent from England.

The victorious England Lions players celebrate the 1-0 series success against Sri Lanka A, which left captain Chris Woakes praising the team's all-round efforts in sweltering conditions“The main goal was to win the series and I’m really pleased we’ve managed to do it.”

All of the players involved with England Lions have aspirations to make the Test side. Woakes’ challenge was to mould the team into a winning one in a short period of time and he was happy with the results.

“Whenever you come on a Lions tour you try and put on a performance as an individual,” said Woakes.

“We’ve tried to bring this team together as a team and try to perform as a team and not as individuals, which is obviously difficult to do when guys are trying to go to that next level.

“But, potentially, there are places up for grabs come June for the England Test side and the guys have done no harm in the way they have performed in this tour.”

One man who had a particular point to prove was Simon Kerrigan, who did not have the easiest of introductions to Test cricket during the fifth Investec Ashes Test at the Kia Oval last year.

The Lancashire spinner certainly responded well in Colombo, with four wickets that helped put England into a dominant position.

And his all-round bowling performance left his captain thrilled.

Woakes said: “We know Keggsy’s a really good bowler. His stats say that. I’ve seen a lot of him and he’s a really good bowler; that’s why he played Test cricket in the first place.

“It was good to see him bowl well. He held up the end very well for us, and we could then rotate the seamers at the other end and our seamers could come hard at their batsmen. Credit to Keggsy, he got his rewards with four wickets.”

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