Recent Match Report – Sri Lanka A vs Eng Lions 1st unofficial ODI 2022/23

Recent Match Report - Sri Lanka A vs Eng Lions 1st unofficial ODI 2022/23
England Lions 231 for 6 (Hain 52, Bethell 50, Cox 46, Hemantha 3-56, Jayawickrama 2-52) beat Sri Lanka A 230 all out (Samarawickrama 74, Arachchige 57, Chamika 52, Mahmood 3-27, Cook 2-35) by four wickets
Saqib Mahmood marked his competitive comeback with three cheap wickets in England Lions’ four-wicket victory over Sri Lanka A in Colombo.
Mahmood has not played a professional game in ten months after a back stress fracture but is part of England’s ODI squad for next month’s tour to Bangladesh, and took 3 for 27 in 7.1 overs in the first of three List A fixtures on the Lions tour.

His three victims – Avishka Fernando, Nuwanidu Fernando and Chamika Karunaratne – have all played international cricket, and he struck twice early as Sri Lanka A stumbled to 9 for 3 after four overs.

They were eventually bowled out for 230, a total England knocked off with 9.4 overs to spare thanks to half-centuries from Warwickshire batters Jacob Bethell – one of five Lions debutants – and Sam Hain. Sadeera Samarawickrama was Sri Lanka’s top-scorer with 74, while legspinner Dushan Hemantha took three wickets.

“I’m really happy,” Mahmood said. “Pre-game I was very internal and thinking about myself. To be honest, I just didn’t want to look stupid out there. It’s natural to have those sorts of thoughts when you haven’t played for so long, but at the same time, there was a part of me that wanted to go out and really impress.

“I just needed that and today when I got out there from the first over something triggered me and I wasn’t thinking about myself, my body or the technical things. It was purely about outcome and performance and they came out nice.

“One of their opening batters got given out lbw and stood there for a little longer than he should have and I just had a word with him. That was literally it. It got me going, and from there it was about the batters I was bowling at. The competitive instincts take over. For a first game back and not knowing how it would go, I feel really good and chuffed with how it has gone.

Despite Mahmood’s successful comeback, there was a potential injury concern for England ahead of the upcoming Bangladesh tour. Tom Abell, the Lions’ captain, left the field one ball into his third over and was not deemed fit to bat. The ECB said Abell was being assessed and it remains to be seen whether the injury will rule him out of his first full international tour.

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