Live cricket prediction: Alex Lees reaches 94-ball century as England Lions take a bazball approach against Sri Lanka XI

SL President’s XI 93 for 2 trail England Lions 413 for 8 dec (Lees 103, Haynes 64*, Bohannon 58, Abell 57, Smith 50) by 320 runs

Alex Lees lived up to the fast-paced standards that he had instilled in him during his summer in England’s Test ranks, by striking a 94-ball century on the opening day of England Lions’ tour of Sri Lanka.

Lees, who debuted in the Caribbean in March last year, played all seven of England’s Tests in a remarkable summer under the new leadership of Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes, but was dropped for the recent tour of Pakistan after making 327 runs at 25.15, including two half-centuries.

His omission from the ECB’s list of centrally contracted players was a further sign that he had slipped down the pecking order, with Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett preferred in Pakistan, but his performance against a Sri Lanka President’s XI was clear evidence that the Test team’s new mindset is firmly entrenched in his psyche.

He struck 12 fours and two sixes in his innings of 103, the second-fastest century in England Lions’ history, behind Luke Wright – the new national selector – who reached the mark in 91 balls in New Zealand in 2009.

Speaking ahead of the tour, Lees acknowledged that an England recall might not be on the immediate horizon, given the importance of backing the Test incumbents in the current regime. However, despite his intermittent successes, he admitted that a top score of 67 in 10 Tests was his downfall, especially in two major pursuits against New Zealand and India. .

“I think it’s been fun to play for a successful team in this environment, especially in the summer,” he said. “It was great. I think my impressions of playing these games were pretty competent, but they clearly lacked the big scores that make all the difference. As a top-notch batsman, you’re average heading into the summer. and mid-20s to mid-40s, and that’s essentially what your testing summer is built for.”

Nevertheless, Leeds’ influence was scraped off during the Lions’ batting his card with a very ‘buzzball’ look when England declared his eight after 67 overs for 413. Tom Abel (57), Josh Bohannon (58), Jack Haynes (64 outs) and Jamie Smith (his 35 balls at No. 8 is the Lions fastest record by an English player at his level). Haseeb Hameed is another man to lead the 2022 Test batting order, his last appearance being at Sydney in the Ashes in January, but his first as Lions captain. It didn’t go so well in the stint. He fell on the first ball of the game and caught Kavindu Patiratne in the first over of the game.

In response, the President’s XI reached 93 for 2 with 19.5 overs remaining, with spinners Liam Patterson White and Jack Carson both taking wicket.

The Lions will face all 16 players in this sub-par game in Colombo. The President’s XI fielded ten bowlers over the course of the English innings.

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