England ease to victory

Chelmsford Weekly News: Alastair Cook Alastair Cook

England wrapped up victory by an innings and 15 runs in their first warm-up match against a Sri Lankan Board XI as their bowlers once again shone, the visiting attack skittling their hosts for 119 on the third afternoon.

England, with Alastair Cook 163no overnight, declared on 303 for eight before play began - a lead of 134 proving enough as James Anderson, Steven Finn and Graeme Swann each picked up three wickets. Monty Panesar, who took five in the first innings, took the remaining scalp.

The declaration yielded immediate success when Anderson struck with the third ball of the morning. He had been impressive on day one of the match, claiming the first four wickets of the innings and coping well with the heat. This time he had Ashen Silva, top-scorer with 66 last time out, caught by Ravi Bopara at point.

He almost had a second when Dimuth Karunaratne mis-timed a pull and edged just over the slip cordon, while Finn was thick-edged for four by Bhanuka Rajapaksa. Finn did not have to wait long for a wicket, though, Rajapaksa flashing hard in the eighth over and finding Swann at second slip.

Spin pair Swann and Panesar soon started in tandem, both opening their spells with maidens. Panesar created the first chance, taking Karunaratne's edge only to see Anderson put down a difficult one-handed chance at slip. Karunaratne lifted Swann wide of mid-on for four to take the total past 50 but he beat his man two balls later, bowling him for 31.

Finn turned 51 for three into 51 for four when he had new batsman Prasanna Jayawardene caught at second slip with the sixth ball of his second spell. Sachithra Serasinghe was fifth out just before lunch, Swann the bowler and Cook diving for the catch at short leg.

Anderson struck at the start of a session for the second time in the day after the resumption, Roshen Silva guiding the ball to Strauss at first slip to go for 12. Panesar then made a comical attempt to catch Perera off Swann. The off-spinner reacted with ire but did not allow the error to stop him sending Kanishka Alvitigala back for a duck two balls later.

Perera looked to have joined the procession when Strauss claimed what seemed a good catch off Anderson, but the batsman stood his ground and the umpires allowed him to remain after conferring. England were aggrieved by the verdict and made their anger known as they approached the officials.

A confident run-out appeal against Malinga Bandara was rejected just seconds later as the atmosphere on the field started to become tense. The eighth-wicket pair detained England for 11 overs before Finn had Perera caught by Prior.

Tyron Gamage (19) and Bandara (28no) set about counter-attacking thereafter and put on a brisk 39 before Panesar pinned the former plumb in front of middle. England needed just one more scalp to avoid batting again and Anderson provided it, dismissing Nilanka Premaratne for a golden duck. He finished with three wickets and a haul of seven for 40.

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