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Bairstow shines in Lions victory

— 7 August 2014

Yorkshire’s Jonathan Bairstow helped England Lions to an emphatic 51-run victory over Sri Lanka A in their first match of the triangular tournament at Taunton.

Nottinghamshire opener Alex Hales made 101 off 105 balls, with 13 fours, as the Lions ran up 339 for five after winning the toss.

Following the early loss of James Vince, caught at long leg by Lahiru Jayaratne off Lahiru Gamage, Hales combined with Ravi Bopara in a decisive second-wicket stand of 165 as the Essex man compiled a stylish and composed 74.

England heaviest run-scorers both fell in the same Gamage over but that merely prompted thrilling closing fireworks in the form of Jason Roy and Bairstow half-centuries.

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    Roy carried his sensational Twenty20 form from Surrey into the match and bludgeoned five sixes from one Sachith Pathirana over, while Bairstow was similarly brutal down the ground.

    Sri Lanka threatened to make a fist of the chase with an impressive second-wicket partnership of there own through Dinesh Chandinal – top scorer with 73 – and opener Danushka Gunathilaka, who made 57.

    But Lions debutant Ravi Patel claimed 3-71 with his left-arm spin, while opening bowlers Harry Gurney and Boyd Rankin joined Bopara in taking two wickets apiece as the tourists were 288 all out with an over to spare.

  • Despite the loss of in-form Hampshire limited-overs skipper Vince, Hales moved England’s score to 57 after 10 alongside Bopara, by which point the duo had started an unrelenting diet of spin that spanned the ninth to the 32nd over.

    Hales went through to a run-a-ball fifty with his sweep to the fore, while Bopara wristily manipulated scoring opportunities and brought up the same landmark with 20 overs remaining.

    The pair duly accelerated, although Hales perished by lifting a full-toss to Danushka Gunathilaka at fine leg the ball after cracking a one-bounce four and bringing up three figures.

    One run later Bopara clipped Gamage to Seekkuge Prasanna at midwicket. That brought in Roy, who soon made his intentions clear by hitting the first six of the innings.

    He took four consecutive sixes over long-on to the dismay of spinner Pathirana. After patting back the fifth delivery to pantomime boos, he smashed another maximum to bring up a 22-ball 51.

    Without addition Roy was bowled by Jayaratne, at which point the the Lions were 255 for four in the 43rd over.

    James Taylor and Bairstow went on the offensive and took 24 off the 47th over bowled by Jayaratne. De Silva returned to bowl the 49th over and had Taylor caught off a top edge at short fine leg by Gamage for 31.

  • Bairstow went to his fifty off the penultimate ball of the innings to end unbeaten, having faced 30 balls and hit five fours and two sixes.

    Gurney made an early breakthrough in the reply when Mahela Udawatte was caught by Hales at first slip after the chance was juggled by Tom Smith at second.

    Gunathilaka was caught by Craig Overton at long-on and when Chandimal had his stumps disturbed by Bopara, the pendulum swung decisively towards England.

    Bhanuka Rajapaksha made a brisk 33 before he was caught at midwicket, while Prasanna was taken at deep backward point by sub David Willey off Rankin.

    Gurney and Bopara struck on their returns to the attack, accounting for De Silva and Pathirana respectively.

    Overton then bowled Ashan Priyanjan for 33 off a bottom edge, which left Sri Lanka needing 100 off eight overs with two wickets remaining. The Somerset player had a hand in the next wicket when he caught Gamage at midwicket off Rankin.

    Rambukwella hit some late blows but was bowled by Patel for 22 as Sri Lanka failed to see out their allocation.

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