England U19s fell 77 runs short Sri Lanka’s total in the Rising Stars Tri-Series final in Antigua – their last competitive match before the ICC U19 World Cup begins in January.
Having beaten their opponents in a high-scoring encounter on Thursday, the Young Lions went into the final with the confidence to repeat the result. But England was ultimately undone by Sri Lanka’s wealth of spin bowling options on a slow pitch, with nine wickets falling to spinners.
Having chosen to bat at the toss, Sri Lanka openers Navod Paranavithana and Kamil Mishara got their side of to the ideal start. The left-handers put on 124 in 25 overs before Mishara was run out for 69.
Paranavithana (108) added another 65 with Ravindu Rasantha (20) and while England took eight wickets for 76 runs in the final 12 overs, Sri Lanka’s total rose to 265 – the second highest of the series.
In reply, Ben Charlesworth and Tom Clark both fell with the score on 10, before Jordan Cox and Jack Haynes (31) added 64 for the third wicket.
Dan Mousley fell quickly for two, with Cox and Lewis Goldsworthy (31) than putting on 69 for the fifth wicket. Goldsworthy’s dismissal by Paranavithana brought Joey Evison to the crease, off the back of his 18-ball 50 in the previous match.
But Cox fell two overs later for a hard-earned 77 and while Evison struck a quick 26 the final six wickets fell in just six overs to quell England’s hopes of victory, bowled out for 188.
Cox finished as the tournament’s second-highest run-scorer on 228 – two runs behind Mishara’s total, while captain George Balderson and fellow seamer Kasey Aldridge took 15 and 13 wickets respectively to finish behind Nadeeshan (18 wickets) in the bowling charts.
England U19 Head Coach, Jon Lewis, said: “I’m proud of the performances the boys have put in over the last four weeks. We’ve shown that we can beat two strong opponents in unfamiliar and challenging conditions and employed a good, aggressive brand of cricket when the opportunities arose.
“While winning the tournament was the ultimate objective, some of the individual and team performances we’ve seen in Antigua will provide a confidence boost ahead of the World Cup.
“Players and staff now have a few days at home over Christmas and New Year before we regroup in early January to depart for South Africa.” (Courtesy cricketworld)