Cricket: Hutchison strikes after long wait

England A 385 Sri Lanka A 341-8
Nick Knight, the England A captain, was left rueing his decision to hold back Paul Hutchison as Sri Lanka A fought back in the first unofficial Test yesterday.

Sri Lanka's resilient lower-order batsmen frustrated England's efforts to claim a potentially crucial first-innings lead on the penultimate day of the game. Resuming on 105 for 2, Sri Lanka finished the day on 341 for 8 to trail by just 44 runs.

The Yorkshire seamer Hutchison, who passed a late fitness test on a back strain to take his place in the starting line-up, has been one of the tourists most impressive strike bowlers so far on the tour.

But it was 56 overs yesterday before he caught the captain's eye and was finally thrown the second new ball after Knight had tried everything else to make the breakthrough and wrap up the Sri Lankan innings.

Sri Lanka found little difficulty in withstanding England's attack as Knight tried all the options available to him, except Hutchison, using James Ormond, Mark Ealham, Ben Hollioake, Dean Cosker and Ashley Giles, who were all given their opportunity before him.

They had moved to 248 for 4 when Hutchison was finally given his chance and he showed what might have been by striking with just his third delivery to remove the century-maker Mahela Jayawardene. He then claimed a further wicket before the close as Sri Lanka suffered a late collapse.

Third day of four; England A won toss

ENGLAND A - First Innings 385 (M A Ealham 87, N V Knight 85, B C Hollioake 67, D L Maddy 50).

SRI LANKA A - First Innings

(Overnight: 105 for 2)

*M S Atapattu c Flintoff b Ormond 52

M Jayawardene c Cosker b Hutchison 110

N Nawaz b Cosker 31

L de Silva c Giles b Ealham 38

U D U Chandana c Read b Hutchison 6

T Samaraweera lbw b Ealham 1

N Villaverayan not out 36

D Hettiarachi not out 9

Extras (b3, lb16, w1, nb16) 36

Total (for 8, 117 overs) 341

Fall: 3-126, 4-183, 5-254, 6-280, 7-289, 8-296.

To bat: S Perera.

Bowling: Hollioake 19-4-51-0; Hutchison 17-6-43-3; Ormond 16-2-67-2; Giles 39-12-73-0; Cosker 11-0-38-1; Ealham 15-4-50-2..

Umpires: G Pushparajah and S D S Dissanayake.