Silva shines in Colombo
Chamara Silva amassed a rapid 163, aiding an impressive Sri Lanka Development XI total of 376 for five at stumps on day one at Colombo’s Sinhalese Sports Club Ground.
The former Test batsman dominated stands of 151 with Thilina Kandamby and 93 with Angelo Perera, who both struck fifties.
Having rolled a Board XI for 169 and 119 in their other tour match, England were forced to bide their time in the field for the first time on the tour amid scorching heat.
It was a gruelling challenge for the tourists’ attack - minus the rested James Anderson and Monty Panesar - on a day so stifling that Matt Prior kept wicket for long periods without pads.
The game had started with good news as Stuart Broad was passed fit following a sprained ankle and went on to remove both openers.
England lost the toss but it took Broad just four balls to register his first wicket of the tour, Malinda Warnapura lifting a full delivery straight to Ravi Bopara at mid-off to depart for nought. Broad then accounted for Dilshan Munaweera in his fifth over, the opener bowled for 19.
Silva was looking more composed and found an able sidekick in Kandamby, a limited-overs international.
Andrew Strauss turned to Graeme Swann’s spin after 15 overs but Sri Lanka were quick to get after him. His first ball was swept for four by Silva, who then lifted him for a straight six.
Kandamby also got into the act, first edging the spinner for four and then hitting a maximum over long-off as the hosts reached lunch at 103 for two, with 58 from Silva.
Broad had a quiet three-over spell at the start of the afternoon’s play before Kandamby began to open up against Steven Finn, taking fours either side of point and getting lucky when he inside-edged a slower ball for another boundary.
Samit Patel, one of three changes to the side along with Broad and the economical Tim Bresnan, became England’s sixth bowler. It took Patel until his seventh over but the the all-rounder was eventually able to make a much-needed breakthrough, managing to turn one in from the rough to bowl Kandamby for 64.
Perera was keen to keep England on the back foot and got off the mark with six off Patel, whom Silva drove down the ground to bring up a well-deserved century in 134 balls.
Four more followed over extra-cover off Patel’s next delivery and a tough session for the tourists closed with the Development XI on 223 for three.
Silva almost gave away his wicket after the restart when he lobbed Swann towards long-on, but the ball stopped short and he was soon dominating the spinners again.
Broad, meanwhile, managed four overs in his third spell despite looking just short of full fitness.
Silva was looking irresistible now, taking successive fours off Patel to reach 150 - one via a flourishing shot over cover, the next from a deft reverse sweep - as his third 50 took just 40 deliveries.
There were also consecutive boundaries off Finn, one of which yielded a half-chance in the deep, before he was caught at fine-leg hooking the same bowler.
Perera hoisted Swann for two huge sixes on his way to a steady half-century.
Kushal Perera also had some fun against a flagging attack, with six fours in his 35, before Broad had him lbw with the first delivery of the new ball.
At stumps Angelo Perera was unbeaten on 61 with Kaushal Lokuarachchi alongside on 22.