Lions series win Taylor-made
Captain James Taylor’s second century in three games gave England Lions a 2-1 one-day series victory over Sri Lanka A, courtesy of a 135-run win at Northampton.
Taylor’s 106 underpinned a 97-run triumph in the first match and, after the Lions were skittled for 108 in a 10-wicket defeat on Sunday, he struck a composed 111.
The 21-year-old right-hander’s innings today, which occupied 132 balls and contained eight fours plus a six, set up a total of 282 for nine once the tourists won the toss.
Taylor, who arrived at the crease with his side 17 for two, began steadily with his first 50 runs coming from 91 balls but accelerated with his next 50 taking only a further 37 deliveries.
He shared stands of 98 with Ben Stokes, who contributed 73 from 65 balls, in 17 overs and 74 with James Harris, who made 29 from 26, inside 10 while Taylor upped the ante.
Two Harris wickets had Sri Lanka A seven for three and, following a minor recover, Lions debutant Boyd Rankin struck twice in an over to leave the tourists 51 for five.
They could not come back from that position and three wickets for left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan sealed a comfortable victory inside 30 overs.
The Lions started on the back foot as Tharanga Laksitha sent Chris Nash’s off stump tumbling and then sent a searing delivery into Alex Hales’ stumps. He had his third victim when Joe Root edged behind to wicketkeeper Kushal Perera.
Stokes then hammered a half-century off just 45 balls before he holed out by smashing Seekkuge Prasanna to Lahiru Thirimanne at long-off.
Jonathan Bairstow launched Sajeewa Weerakoon to Bhanuka Rajapaksa at long-on and Chris Woakes fell when he missed his attempted reverse-sweep and was bowled by Weerakoon ahead of Taylor reaching his fifty.
Harris made 29 before being run out by bowler Weerakoon. Stuart Meaker then smashed the same man to Thirimanne at long-on.
Taylor completed his fifth one-day ton but departed in the final over by hammering Kosala Kulasekara to Kanishka Alvitigala at deep midwicket.
Chasing 283, the tourists lost Malinda Warnapura with just the fourth ball when he was caught behind by Bairstow off Harris.
Thirimanne also went for a duck when Woakes forced him to edge to Bairstow, who also snared Rajapaksa off Harris.
Sachithra Serasinghe tried to recover the situation in plundering 35, but he was caught and bowled by Rankin.
Perera then lasted for only two balls before edging Rankin to Bairstow and Kulasekara threw his wicket away by hoisting Meaker to Taylor at mid-on.
The writing was on the wall for Sri Lanka A when Bairstow stumped captain Dimuth Karunaratne, for 30, and Weerakoon, both off Kerrigan.
Alvitigala blasted 34 off 27 balls before launching Kerrigan to Stokes at long-on and it was all over when Nash took Prasanna, on 20, at extra-cover off Woakes.