James Taylor heaped praise on England Lions’ bowlers, whom he described as “exceptional” in the draw with Sri Lanka A Emerging Players.
The hosts dug in for a draw in the Lions’ opening game of a tour that includes a trio of four-day matches versus Sri Lanka A.
Scott Borthwick’s 51 and a 17-ball 31 not out from Tymal Mills helped the visitors turn their overnight 253 to five into 383 all out.
Despite three scalps for off-spinner Moeen Ali, 63 from Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Roshen Silva’s unbeaten 46 aided a stumps score of 192 for five in 54 overs.
Speaking exclusively to ecb.co.uk, Taylor said: “It was a great work-out.
“At the end of the day this was a warm-up game. Obviously we come into the game trying to win it. Unfortunately we didn’t quite get over the line - they put up a bit of resistance with the bat - but in all it was a good first performance from us on this tour.”
Sam Robson’s second-innings century on Lions debut and 61 from Taylor typified a strong batting display from Chris Woakes’ side.
Mark Wood’s first-innings 5-32 showed there was much in the Premadasa Stadium’s wicket for seamers as well as spinners.
“The sub-continent’s a hard place to come but plenty of the batsmen got a good work-out and the bowlers were exceptional. Mark Wood was very good and so was Chris Woakes,” added Taylor.
“Our spinners did a great job. It’s been a good work-out for the lads to spend some time in the field, which is crucial.”
The Lions’ other warm-up is another three-day fixture against the same opponents, from Thursday at Colombo’s Colts Cricket Ground.
The diminutive Taylor approaches that buoyed by his half-century, which came during a hundred partnership alongside Robson.
“It was good, competitive cricket on a big outfield, a slow outfield and a pitch that was offering plenty for the spinners,” he said.
“It was tough work, especially in the heat as well. But, as I said, first game of the tour, it’s just nice to spend some time in the middle.”