Young Lions make perfect start
Daniel Bell-Drummond hit an unbeaten century to become the most prolific one-day batsman in England Under-19s history as the young Lions beat Australia by three wickets.
The Kent opener hit a wonderful 103 - his first ton for the U19s - to guide England to victory with 15 deliveries remaining in the opening game of the Quadrangular Series.
In chasing down 204, England landed a huge psychological blow ahead of the U19 World Cup, when they will meet Australia in the first game.
The tourists did it the hard way, however, and it needed something special from Bell-Drummond, who has now scored 794 runs in U19 ODIs - 83 more than Billy Godleman who is second on the list.
The tourists, having lost Sam Kelsall early on, found themselves in trouble when Ben Foakes and Shiv Thakor fell in consecutive deliveries to leave them 46 for three.
Fortunately for England, Bell-Drummond found an ally in Jamie Overton and the pair put on 68 to stabilise the chase.
The quick departures of Overton and Aneesh Kapil, which left England 118 for five, changed the game once more but Sam Wood and captain Adam Ball chipped in with 19 apiece.
They both fell as nerves began to fray, but the composed Bell-Drummond and Rammy Singh kept their heads to complete the victory.
Earlier in the day, Wood and Reece Topley took 3-24 and 3-49 respectively to restrict Australia to a modest 203 for eight.
Essex left-arm seamer Topley bowled both Australia openers, Cameron Bancroft and Jimmy Peirson.
Wood, from Nottinghamshire, followed Topley’s lead by dismissing Meyrick Buchanan and Travis Head in consecutive overs before Kapil trapped Wayne Bosisto lbw to leave the hosts 77 for five.
England continued to turn the screw and Wood, England’s leading wicket-taker on the recent tour of Bangladesh, claimed his third scalp of the afternoon when Sam Hain was caught by Topley.
It was Topley’s turn to strike again as Australia slipped to 129 for seven, Singh taking the catch to dismiss Ashton Agar.
England would have had ambitions of bowling out their hosts, but they did not reckon on number seven Nick Stevens hitting an unbeaten 76 from 78 deliveries.
His counter-attacking innings ensured Australia, who lost Shane Cassell to Overton in the late dash for runs, went past 200 - though it would not be enough.