Teenager shocks Sri Lanka as England tour begins


Teenage right-arm seamer Aaron Beard had the first-class debut dreams are made of as he claimed four wickets against Sri Lanka on the first day of their tour of England.

The tourists are playing a series of Test matches against England starting on May 19, but took on county outfit Essex to kick off the tour.

They might have been expecting an easy hit-out, but they were given no peace, particular by 18-year-old schoolboy Beard who went 4-62.

Beard tore through the Sri Lankan line-up, including two wickets in each of his first two overs, as they were bowled for 254 at Chelmsford.

"It was an amazing day," Beard told ESPN Cricinfo.

"I was very nervous running in first up, but once you've bowled a couple of decent balls you settle and I was lucky to get my wicket in the first over. That eased the pressure completely.

"I wouldn't have wanted to make my debut anywhere else than Chelmsford, definitely not. I went to school about six minutes up the road and first played for Essex in the under-9s.

"I don't actually remember the first wicket because my adrenalin was rushing so quickly and it was very surreal. I settled as I bowled more."

Sri Lanka may not have known much about Beard, but it was not the first time he had been in the national spotlight.

As a 15-year-old he fielded in a match against England in a warm-up game for the 2013 Ashes series, before being asked to act as the 12th man for England, carrying the drinks for the national side.