Sri Lanka V England, England in Sri Lanka Series, Match One, 30th January 2006 at Mercantile Cricket Association Ground, Colombo

Report from

England inserted the opposition on an uneven matting surface.

An opening stand of 180 in 76 minutes looked ominous but Field and Swanepoel returned from expensive opening spells to assert more control. The introduction of Townley quietened things down a bit and he was supported by some excellent fielding. Howard Greenhill kept his line despite going for a six in his first over.

A spell of 3-32 from Foy removed both openers and opened up the possibility of inroads into the lower middle order but positive play from the hosts featuring some excellent running between the wickets brought them up to a total that would have been greater but for a brave performance from Seal who had to leave the field briefly to tend to his injuries. The introduction of the B1 reserve Hassan Khan meant that four new players took the pitch in this strong England side.

A stumping, two catches in the outfield, a bowled and two run outs was a just return for a fielding performance in which heads never dropped despite an impressive batting display from a young and energetic side.

With the match evenly poised at the interval Rory Field and Foy opened steadily without taking risks against some very sharp Sri Lankan outfielding in particular their fast, flat returns to the wickets.

When Foy was out caught at the wicket after a responsible innings with the score on 200, Sugg kept the momentum going with a brisk 31 off 22 balls giving Field support in an important stand that established the foundation for victory. Swanepoel went early to a direct hit from the outfield and Andy Powers after a watchful start cut loose and shared an unbeaten stand of 101 with Field. Powers fell was denied his 50 while Field consistently found the gaps with 29 boundaries.

In the end England won with 6 overs to spare. It was a masterly performance from Rory Field who was on the pitch throughout a match played in hot humid conditions. Sri Lanka tried 10 bowlers to try to unsettle him but he was not to be denied in his England debut finishing on 173 not out.

With plenty of batting to come a focused England effort which also included debuts for Andy Powers and Howard Greenhill allows England to approach the second match on Wednesday with confidence.

Scott Poundall, the team physio, was kept busy after the match with several strains and niggles but an exhausted, happy team endured an early start and a return journey of two hours to earn a day off.

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