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Sri Lanka U19s charge to victory

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Azeem Rafiq

Azeem Rafiq was thwarted by opposite number Chathura Peiris in the morning, as England slipped to defeat at Northampton

England Under-19s failed in their attempt to save the first Test as Sri Lanka broke their resistance in the dying overs at Wantage Road.

England were set a nominal target of 369 just before lunch on the final day, and at 112 for five, eight overs into the evening session, a draw looked a distinct possibility.

But the departure of two long-established Under-19 players, Jack Manuel for 39, and captain Azeem Rafiq, allowed Sri Lanka to race through the lower-order to dismiss England for 169 in 62.1 overs.

The tourists take a 1-0 lead into the final Test at Scarborough next week.

Chathura Peiris was just 13 not out when he resumed the final day, with Sri Lanka 269 for nine in their second innings, a lead of by 270.

But the Sri Lanka captain stuck around for 19 overs, as the tourists massaged their innings to 367 for nine declared, leaving England a distant aim of 369 over two sessions and the four overs prior to lunch.

Prospects of a draw were rocked by a searing opening spell by Sanitha de Mel, who removed Daniel Bell-Drummond and Luke Gregory cheaply.

Joe Root and Luke Wells stuck around, but both had gone by the time England reached 75 for five just after tea.

Manuel and Rafiq appeared to have done much of the hard work in taking the hosts to 112, when the England captain became de Mel’s fourth victim for 16.

Manuel, the Worcestershire left-hander, struck eight fours in his 77-ball stay before he was caught and bowled by Charith Jayampathi going into the last hour of play.

Despite stout 12s by Jacob Ball and Atif Sheikh, England were all out 200 runs short of their total and with the close imminent.

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