England ease their way into action against Sri Lanka Cricket President’s XI

England eased into action on the first morning of their opening tour match in Sri Lanka, reaching 119 for two against a Sri Lanka Cricket President’s XI.

The tourists batted first in the three-day match, which does not carry first-class status and is not restricted to 11-a-side, and saw Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley put on an opening stand worth 52.

Sibley, fresh from scoring back-to-back hundreds on the England Lions tour in Australia, was the junior partner throughout and became the first victim of the trip when he was trapped lbw by Kavishka Anjula for 14.

Crawley put together a more fluent knock of 43 in just 45 balls, striking his first boundary from the fourth delivery of the day and driving crisply as he collected eight more before being bowled by a Lahiru Samarakoon cutter.

Joe Denly (30 not out) and captain Joe Root (26no) came to the crease in their established positions at three and four, suggesting the recalled Keaton Jennings is viewed as cover at this stage, and put on an unbroken, untroubled partnership of 50 before lunch.

Conditions were not quite what England have come to expect from this part of the world, with a green-tinged pitch offering gentle movement off the seam and just two overs of spin in the first session.

It is highly unlikely that will be the case when the first Test gets under way on the traditional turning track at Galle on March 19 and England will hope for the chance to challenge themselves against more quality spin as the game progresses.

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