Barrow wheels England to victory
Alex Barrow and Luke Wells guided England Under-19s to a three-wicket win over their Sri Lanka counterparts at Cambridge in the first one-dayer of five.
Barrow and Wells came together at 135 for four, with the hosts 73 runs short of victory, but their 55-run stand helped England to victory despite a couple of late wickets ensuring a nervy finale.
Barrow made 50 from 96 balls, featuring just two fours, while Wells struck a smooth 39 not out from 58 deliveries with four fours.
After the sides had shared the spoils in the Test and Twenty20 series, both were looking for a momentum-building win.
England’s decision to field first had looked a brilliant one when they reduced the tourists to 90 for six.
Jacob Ball started the rot when he removed Rumesh Buddika and wickets continued to fall at regular intervals as Sri Lanka’s batsmen struggled.
It looked like the hosts would restrict Sri Lanka to a meagre total, but Dhanushka Gunathilleke rescued his side by hitting an unbeaten 83.
The valiant knock included eight fours and two sixes from 102 balls and the all-rounder was ably supported by Sanitha de Mel with 29 not out.
Their 91-run partnership helped Sri Lanka to 207 for seven from 50 overs, though England would have been disappointed not to have restricted their opponents to a lower score.
Lewis Gregory claimed two wickets but captain Paul Best was the pick of England’s bowlers with 2-23 from 10 overs.
In reply, Worcestershire’s Jack Manuel got England off to a good start with 23 off 17 balls before he was bowled by de Mel.
Gregory fell for 15, before Root and Barrow shared a 63-run third-wicket stand which put England in control.
Nadeera Rajaguru struck twice in quick succession to remove Root, two shy of a half-century, and Ateeq Javid.
But Barrow and Wells eased England’s nerves before the former was bowled by Buddika.
Best was dismissed for a duck and Adam Rouse scored just five as Sri Lanka ensured there would be a tense finale
However, Wells and David Payne got England over the line though with four balls to spare.
Best said: "We are delighted to be one up and are looking forward to resuming the ODI series at Arundel on Monday.
"Today's match was closer than it needed to be and we aim to be more disciplined and ruthless going forward."