Cricket: Sri Lanka bowled over as England A make history

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND A completed the first objective of their winter tour with an emphatic seven-wicket victory in Moratuwa in the third unofficial Test here yesterday.

The inexperienced tour party set out from London in December aiming to further their cricketing education and became the first A team to beat Sri Lanka in three tours. They not only achieved their targets, but excelled in both with a confident and determined performance which enabled them to inflict Sri Lanka's first A team series defeat on home soil.

Starting their reply 95 runs adrift after dismissing the tourists for 466 yesterday, Sri Lanka reached 58 for 1 at lunch to leave all but the England dressing-room preparing for a draw. But England A, spearheaded by the spin pairing of Dean Cosker and Ashley Giles, dismissed Sri Lanka for 168, before cruising to their victory target of 74 with 21 balls remaining.

Meanwhile in South Africa, the Pakistan team manager, Asad Aziz, reacted with disdain to suggestions the two players who were mugged in South Africa last Wednesday evening have been less than honest about their plight.

Speculation has mounted steadily that Mohammad Akram and Saqlain Mushtaq, who said they were attacked by two men who leapt from a car as they were walking towards shops close to their hotel in a wealthy Johannesburg suburb, may have acquired their injuries elsewhere.

The attack forced the start of the first Test against South Africa to be delayed from Friday to Saturday. It also prompted waves of condemnation from politicans and sports officials and a promise that security for the touring team would be stepped up.

Johannesburg police, however, have criticised the players for being "unco- operative" and this has fuelled the rumours there may be another story.

Although police spokesmen refuse to confirm the subject of their investigations, they would not deny that a team of officers have talked with the management and staff of a late-night club close to the team hotel.

The former Australia captain Allan Border became a member of the national selection panel yesterday. Border has been appointed alongside the chairman, Trevor Hohns, and Andrew Hilditch. He replaces Steve Bernard, who was named as Australian team manager last month.

England A scoreboard, Sporting Digest