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Rajapaksa condemns England U19s

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Jack Manuel

Jack Manuel tried to get England going, top-scoring with 23, but it proved in vain

Bhanuka Rajapaksa starred with bat and ball as Sri Lanka Under-19s eased to a crushing nine-wicket win over England at the Emirates Durham ICG.

The all-rounder took two key wickets to restrict England to a below-par 107, before smashing an unbeaten 59 from just 29 balls as the tourists eased home.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, the hosts got off to the worst possible start, losing opener Luke Wells to the final ball of the opening over.

His partner, Jack Manuel, attempted to rebuild, hitting two four and two sixes during his 12-ball stay, before perishing to Charith Jayampathi for 23.

Manuel’s wicket started England’s demise as they continued to lose wickets at regular intervals, thus handing the initiative to Sri Lanka.

Rajapaksa accounted for Joe Root and skipper Paul Best, while Ateeq Javid and Alex Barrow departed in between.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Rossington offered some resistance with a run-a-ball 22, but his efforts proved in vein as the home side stumbled to a disappointing 107 all out from 18 overs.

In reply, the tourists started positively as Rajapaksa and opening partner Ramith Rambukwella raced to 68 without loss after seven overs.

The latter then departed for a 30-ball 36, including five fours and a six, when he picked out Best off Adam Ball.

However, the damage was already done as Yasoda Lanka, who made 14 not out, shared an unbroken stand of 34 with Rajapaksa to earn victory with 6.2 overs to spare.

The sides meet in the second and final Twenty20 at the same venue tomorrow, before the five-match one-day series gets under way on Saturday.

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