ENG v SL (U19) 2024, ENG19 vs SL19 1st unofficial Test Match Report, July 08 – 11, 2024

Sri Lanka’s middle order fought back after England had enjoyed a profitable morning on the opening day of the first Youth Men’s Test in Wormsley.
The tourists finished a rain-shortened day at 177 for 5 after the Young Lions had expertly used bowler-friendly conditions in the opening hour to claim four wickets.

New-ball pair Alex French and Naavya Sharma claimed the first three wickets with catches in the slip cordon before Rocky Flintoff ran out Sharujan Shanmuganathan after a terrible mix-up left both batsmen at the non-strikers’ end.

Alex Green then had Mahith Perera caught behind in the over before a second rain delay, but an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 74 between captain Dinura Kalupahana and Diniru Abeywickramashingha hauled Sri Lanka back into the contest.

With low cloud cover and a green-tinged pitch, Hamza Shaikh, captaining England Men U19s for the first time, had no hesitation in putting Sri Lanka into bat after winning the toss.

Shaikh’s decision was vindicated almost immediately as Surrey’s tall right-armer French removed both openers inside the first half-hour. Freddie McCann held on to edges from Sadew Samarasinghe and Pulindu Perera at second slip.

Gayana Weerasinghe flicked Sharma over the leg-side rope for six in a rare moment of attack from the tourists, but the Middlesex man had him in his next over when Noah Thain held a sharp catch to his right at first slip.

Sharma was only called into the squad over the weekend and was celebrating with his teammates again soon after as Sri Lanka’s morning got worse.

Shanmuganathan pushed into the off-side and set off for a single that Perera declined only after offering enough hesitation to entice his partner to commit. Flintoff needed only to lob the ball to wicketkeeper Jack Carney who removed the bails while the batsmen stared accusingly at each other.

Sri Lanka were 49 for 4 when rain forced the players off for more than two hours. In a shortened middle session, Leicestershire’s Green grabbed the only wicket with his first ball of a new spell when Perera edged to Carney.

After a second break the Sri Lanka batters opted to counter-punch. New batter Abeywickramasingha took the lead with six boundaries in his unbeaten 35 from 41 balls as the pressure was put back on England’s bowlers.

That allowed Kalupahana time to show his class as he eased to his half-century, from 98 balls, with a boundary off Green. The captain then started to up his rate striking Farhan Ahmed over the ropes and was unbeaten on 70 when a third rain delay eventually ended play.


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