Lewis Gregory scored a quick-fire half-century and took two wickets as he led England Lions to a convincing win over a New South Wales XI to finish the white-ball leg of the tour unbeaten.
Having won the first two games against Cricket Australia XI, the final game of that series and the first match against NSW XI fell victim to the weather, but the Lions showed no signs of rust as they hit 293 from their 50 overs after being put in to bat.
After torrential rain and cyclone-strength winds hit the Sydney area in the 48 hours before the match, the ground staff in Drummoyne worked tirelessly to get the game on, albeit with a delayed start.
Lions openers Will Jacks (48) and Tom Kohler-Cadmore (37) ticked along nicely in challenging batting conditions until both fell in the 16th over, both caught by Nathan McAndrew off the bowling of Greg West.
Sam Hain and Dan Lawrence added 67, with the Essex batter the more aggressive in his 49-ball knock before offering a catch to Ben Manenti off Mickey Andrews on 41.
Laurie Evans (24) and James Bracey (12) kept the score ticking along at almost a run-a-ball before captain Gregory came in to blast four sixes and two fours in his 34-ball knock of 55 to power the score towards 300.
Chasing 294, NSW XI got off to a bad start, losing Hayden Kerr in Richard Gleeson’s first over of the day. Jack Edwards sped to 30 until being dismissed by Henry Brookes in the seventh over.
The pressure of keeping up with the run-rate took its toll on the NSW wicket column. Captain Ryan Gibson put up resistance with 87 off 80 balls but once he was dismissed by Lawrence in the 30th over, wickets fell regularly.
Hampshire leg-spinner Mason Crane picked up three for 56, with Gleeson, Brookes and Gregory taking two each – Gregory conceded just 17 off his five overs and took the final wicket to seal the 52-run win.
Gregory said: “We’re delighted to go unbeaten through the one-day leg of the tour with three excellent wins and some very good performances throughout the squad.
“What was especially pleasing about the win today was the number of players who stepped up to put in telling performances. All eleven players put in good shifts with bat, ball or in the field, which made us very hard to beat.
“We’re looking forward to shifting our attention to red-ball cricket now, with the performances from these last few weeks spurring us on for more success.”