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Sri Lanka level series

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Lewis Gregory

Lewis Gregory hit an impressive 87, but he could not stop Sri Lanka squaring the five-match series with victory at Arundel

Lewis Gregory’s brave 87 proved in vain as England Under-19s fell to a five-wicket defeat in their second one-day international against their Sri Lankan counterparts at Arundel.

The all-rounder hit eight fours and a six in his 146-ball effort, but none of the other batsman got past 20 as England set the tourists just 175 to win.

Kithuruwan Vithanage then hit a composed half-century as Sri Lanka eased to a series-levelling victory with over 15 overs to spare.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, England found themselves in trouble from the start as the tourists’ impressive bowling attack reduced them to 41 for four.

Sanitha de Mel did much of the early damage, accounting for Joe Root, Jack Manuel and Alex Barrow within the first eight overs.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa then had Zafar Ansari to leave the hosts reeling. Gregory, who came in at three, did his best to rebuild, but Nadeera Rajaguru followed up de Mel’s efforts by taking three wickets of his own in the middle overs.

First he had Luke Wells and Adam Ball caught behind by wicketkeeper Denuwan Rajakaruna before Paul Best to leave England 120 for seven.

Somerset’s Gregory remained resolute, but wickets continued to tumble at the other end as Adam Rouse and James Thorpe also departed.

Gregory was then the last to go as England were bowled out for 174 in 49.4 overs.

In reply, Sri Lanka opted for a conservative approach at the top of the order, reaching 17 without loss after five overs before Yasoda Lanka was run out by Ball.

Gregory then followed up his batting effort by dismissing opener Rumesh Buddika to leave Sri Lanka 32 for two and give the hosts hope.

However, Rajapaksa, who hit 46, and Vithanage rebuilt thereafter to reach take Sri Lanka past 100.

Best then accounted for the former along with Dhanushka Gunathilleke, while Root removed Rajakaruna in between as England hit back.

Vithanage, well supported by Akshu Fernando’s unbeaten 26, saw his side to victory to ensure the tourists went into game three tomorrow, also at Arundel, on level terms.

Gregory said: "Conditions were helpful for the Sri Lankan bowlers and they used them well making it difficult for us to score.

"Staying in and posting a reasonable total was never going to be enough to challenge their batsmen, although at 125 for five we felt there was a small chance.

"At 1-1 in the series it's important we regroup and come back and play some positive cricket tomorrow."

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