Cricket: Nearly Knight steers safe course

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The Independent Online
England A 202-4

v Sri Lanka A

Nick Knight, the captain, was dismissed 15 runs short of his first century of the tour - but by then had steered England A into a commanding position on the opening day of the international against Sri Lanka A in Kurunegala. The Warwickshire left-hander produced a disciplined and determined innings as the touring team took advantage of an easy-paced pitch to reach 202 for 4 at close.

The Glamorgan opener, Steve James, was caught behind in the 14th over after setting off at a breakneck pace, England having won the toss and elected to bat. Knight and Maddy then added a steady 94 in 55 overs by mastering the Sri Lankan spinners before the Leicestershire batsman misjudged Upal Chandana and was bowled for 50. Maddy's dismissal enabled Sri Lanka to pin England down with Knight and Mark Ealham restricted to just 20 runs in the 15 overs which followed tea.

Knight was eventually held in the covers by his rival captain, Marvan Atapattu, and Andrew Flintoff was then caught behind for four just before stumps.

First day of four; England A won toss

ENGLAND A - First Innings

S P James c De Silva b Samaraweera 23

*N V Knight c Atapattu b Samaraweera 85

D L Maddy b Chandana 50

M A Ealham not out 30

A Flintoff c De Silva b Hettiarachi 4

B C Hollioake not out 2

Extras (b4 lb2 nb2) 8

Total (for 4, 94 overs) 202

Fall: 1-48 2-142 3-179 4-189.

To bat: A F Giles, C M W Read, D A Cosker, J Ormond, P M Hutchison.

Bowling: Villaverayan 9-2-42-0; Perera 8-2-18-0; Samaraweera 25-6-50- 2; Hettiarachi 26-7-48-1; Chandana 23-11-34-1; Jayawardene 3-1-4-0.

SRI LANKA A: *M S Atapattu, R P Arnold, S Ranatunga, M Jayawardene, L De Silva, U D U Chandana, N Nawaz, T Samaraweera, D Hettiarachi, N Villaverayan, S Perera.

Umpires: G Pushparajah and S D S Dissanayake.

- Myles Hodgson, Kurunegala

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