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Rampant Lions draw first blood

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James Taylor

James Taylor celebrates reaching a fine century, which helped set up England Lions' comfortable victory over Sri Lanka A

James Taylor scored his first hundred since taking over as England Lions captain to help his side crush Sri Lanka A by 97 runs in the first ODI at New Road.

Fresh from hitting 76 and 98 against the same opposition last week, Taylor continued his fine form as skipper by cracking his highest one-day score - a composed 106 from 120 deliveries.

His century formed the backbone of England Lions' imposing 310 for eight, which included contrasting half-centuries from Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow.

The tall and elegant Root came to the crease after Alex Hales lost his off stump in the second over and the baby-faced Yorkshireman immediately showed his class with a sumptuous backfoot punch, the first of seven fours in his accomplished 62.

He put on 46 with debutant Chris Nash, whose breezy 28 helped the hosts recover from losing that early wicket, but it was the 94-run stand between Root and Taylor which set the platform for a big score.

Taylor, busy and bustling as usual, played the anchor role once Root departed, sharing a 67-run partnership with Ben Stokes, but the innings took on a fresh impetus once the Durham all-rounder was bowled by the penultimate ball of the 40th over with England 208 for four.

In strode Bairstow, who proceeded to flay the Sri Lanka attack in a brutal display of hitting. Just a week after making a ton against the same attack in the four-day game, Bairstow cranked it up a notch with 59 from just 26 balls.

He struck four sixes, including one which threatened to clear the Graeme Hick pavilion, as he dominated a 79-run partnership with Taylor.

Bairstow and Taylor fell in quick succession in the late thrash which saw the Lions plunder 102 runs from the final 53 deliveries.

The Lions made a perfect start with the ball when Steven Finn breached Dimuth Karunaratne's defence in only his second over.

Fellow opener Lahiru Thirimanne counter-attacked with an array of well-timed strokes but it proved lone resistance as England took a cluster of wickets to assume total command.

First James Harris induced Kaushal Silva into a mistimed pull to Hales at midwicket before Scott Borthwick struck with his first delivery, a leg-break which clattered into Thirimanne's stumps as he tried to force into the off side.

Nash and England celebrated an lbw in the next over and Sri Lanka slipped to 129 for five when Kushal Perera got in a muddle and was run out following good work by Finn.

Sachithra Chaturanga and Kosala Kulasekara mounted a recovery of sorts with a 41-run stand which ended when Borthwick pouched the former at midwicket off the lively Stuart Meaker.

Borthwick then produced the perfect googly which gated Kanishka Alvitigala, leaving Meaker and Harris to mop up the Sri Lanka tail.