Sam Robson’s second-innings century put England Lions in a commanding position after day two of their three-day match against Sri Lanka A Emerging Players.
The Middlesex opening batsman fell cheaply first time round on his Lions debut but made amends with a superb 120 as the tourists reached 253 for five at stumps – a lead of 278.
He was ably supported by a half-century from James Taylor after fellow debutant Mark Wood completed a five-wicket haul to ensure England held a first-innings advantage.
For the Sri Lankans it meant a deficit of 25 runs, but they soon put the pressure back on their visitors as Robson’s opening partner Varun Chopra was trapped lbw by Lahiru Gamage without scoring.
That brought Taylor to the crease and, like Robson, the Nottinghamshire man set about making up for a failure yesterday.
Their partnership exuded a decisive feel as 118 runs were added in 34 overs before Taylor was bowled by Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s occasional medium pace for a 61 featuring six fours and a pair of maximums.
The Sri Lankans chipped away at England’s middle order – Moeen Ali and James Vince coming and going for single-figure scores – but Robson then found another willing ally in Jonny Bairstow.
Robson was eventually trapped leg-before by the Lions’ first-innings tormentor Tharindu Kaushal but Bairstow, who also looked in good touch yesterday, will resume tomorrow hoping to cash in on 43 not out.
Earlier, captain Chris Woakes and fellow seamer Wood continued their fine work from day one and left their hosts reeling.
Woakes bowled wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella and Bairstow pouched Roshen Silva off Wood without any addition to the overnight score of 92 for four.
Wood rearranged Gamage’s furniture to complete 5-32 after Woakes accounted for Kaushal in similar fashion and ended with 3-21.
Sri Lanka’s recovery from 115 for eight to 176 all out owed much to Ishan Jayaratne’s 50 not out before England spin duo Scott Borthwick and Ollie Rayner ended the innings with a wicket apiece.