Hildreth looks on the bright side
Captain James Hildreth insists England Lions can take plenty of positives from their shock defeat to Sri Lanka at Derby.
The Lions were bowled out for 183 on the final evening as they chased a seemingly modest 222 to win, giving the tourists a 39-run victory that looked unlikely in the extreme when they followed on 227 behind yesterday.
Pace bowlers Dilhara Fernando took 3-33 and Nuwan Pradeep hurried through the middle and lower order to finish with 4-29 to secure a second straight tour success for Sri Lanka ahead of the opening npower Test at Cardiff starting on Thursday.
"We came up just short, but played some really good cricket and got ourselves into a winning position," Hildreth said. “We then made it hard work and ended up being beaten.
"It's just application in the end - we should have chased down that total - but we can still take a lot from those first two days."
Eoin Morgan, who was this morning included in the England squad for the first Test, perhaps took the most from the game after making a superb 193 in the first innings.
Hildreth was full of praise for the left-hander, playing his first first-class match of the season, but also backed Ravi Bopara to respond well after being overlooked for Test duty.
"Morgan batted beautifully in that first innings,” said Hildreth. “He's looking great and I think he'll go into the Test series full of confidence knowing he's already got runs against this attack.
"Ravi is a strong character and he'll come back well. He'll bounce back, and I'm sure he'll go away and score lots of runs for Essex."
Fernando unsurprisingly spoke of Sri Lanka confidence, after adding this unlikely victory to their win against Middlesex in their tour opener at Uxbridge last week.
"It's a great win for us, because we need some momentum going into the Test match, and all the guys are now really confident after this performance," he said.
"We have won both our warm-up matches, so the confidence is really good, especially after winning this match in these conditions.
"I'm pretty sure we can do something special. It would be a great feeling to win a series in England."