Fernando and Pradeep shock Lions
Dilhara Fernando and Nuwan Pradeep led the fightback as Sri Lanka pulled off a remarkable 38-run victory over England Lions to boost their morale for next week’s first npower Test.
Fernando took three wickets for four runs en route to figures of 3-44 and Pradeep completed the job with 4-29 to help Sri Lanka bowl the Lions out for 183 on the final day at Derby.
The hosts, who enforced the follow-on yesterday, bowled Sri Lanka out for 448 this morning on the back of Jade Dernbach’s career-best nine-wicket haul in the match - to leave themselves needing an apparently routine 222 in 73 overs for victory.
But Fernando, taking advantage of a strong wind behind him, produced a testing mid-afternoon spell to see off James Taylor, Eoin Morgan – this morning named in the England Test squad – and Ravi Bopara.
The Lions had taken just 14 overs between the showers on the final morning to get through the Sri Lanka tail, from an overnight 392 for six.
But when Tillakaratne Dilshan introduced his own off-spin early in the home reply, it was too much for Jimmy Adams, who was lbw pushing forward.
Taylor and Bopara dug in after lunch until Fernando started to work over the opener with pace and bounce.
Pushed back in the crease, Taylor failed to cover any movement when he was bowled by one that trimmed the off bail.
Fernando bagged Bopara and Morgan in the same over, the former unable to get his gloves out of the way of a devilish short delivery which followed him and the latter pulling his first ball for four only to edge his second low to second slip.
Samit Patel and James Hildreth appeared to put the Lions back on course during a stand of 61.
But Patel, dropped at long-off on 25 when Thisara Perera perhaps misjudged the strength of the following wind on a lofted drive off Suraj Randiv, was unable to cash in significantly before Pradeep pinned him lbw on the back foot.
That left much depending on captain Hildreth. When his was the third of three more wickets to fall in three overs for just six runs – Dinesh Chandimal took a tumbling catch at deep midwicket off Pradeep with 62 and eight wickets down – the game was up.
The more obvious stumbling blocks had appeared to be the ones holding up the Lions pace attack first thing - namely overnight pair Thilan Samaraweera and Randiv.
But Steven Finn, also named in England's squad to face Sri Lanka again on Thursday, celebrated by getting one through to hit Samaraweera, who made 74, on the back pad and end a stand of 59.
Dernbach, whose five wickets in the first innings had included numbers 10 and 11, again made short work of the tail to finish with 4-94.