Cricket: Valuable innings by Ealham

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England A 385

Sri Lanka A 105-2

Mark Ealham underlined his importance to England A yesterday as the touring team suffered fluctuating fortunes on the second day of their unofficial Test against Sri Lanka A on a deteriorating pitch.

The Kent all-rounder's determined innings of 87 helped his side reach 385 and with Sri Lanka A finishing on 105 for 2, it may prove to be decisive with the dried-out surface becoming more unpredictable.

Ealham and Ben Hollioake added 119 in 38 overs when Hollioake fell after mistiming a cut shot, while Ealham gave a simple catch to the left-arm spinner Tilan Samaraweera. England's final six wickets then fell for 64 runs in 34 overs.

Paul Hutchison's left-arm seam caused the Sri Lankan openers problems and Russell Arnold edged to Hollioake at first slip. James Ormond then removed Sanjeewa Ranatunga, caught by Steve James at short leg.

Second day of four; England A won toss

ENGLAND A - First Innings

(Friday: 202 for 4)

M A Ealham c and b Samaraweera 87

B C Hollioake c Chandana b Hettiarachi 67

A F Giles b Hettiarachi 10

C M W Read lbw b Perera 17

J Ormond c de Silva b Perera 27

D A Cosker not out 0

P M Hutchison b Perera 0

Extras (b4 lb8 nb3) 15

Total (156.5 overs) 385

Fall (cont): 5-321 6-335 7-337 8-374 9-385.

Bowling: Villaverayan 14-2-70-0; Perera 14.5-4-35-3; Samaraweera 45-10- 106-3; Hettiarachi 40-11-73-3; Chandana 38-13-76-1; Jayawardene 5-1-13- 0

SRI LANKA A - First Innings

R P Arnold c Hollioake b Hutchison 12

*M S Atapattu not out 45

S Ranatunga c James b Ormond 10

M Jayawardene not out 25

Extras (lb1 nb12) 13

Total (for 2, 27 overs) 105

Fall: 1-14 2-43.

To bat: L De Silva, U D U Chandana, N Nawaz, T Samaraweera, D Hettiarachi, N Villaverayan, S Perera.

Bowling: Hollioake 5-1-20-0; Hutchison 9-3-22-1; Ormond 8-0-46-1; Giles 4-0-15-0; Cosker 1-0-1-0.

Umpires: G Pushparajah and S D S Dissanayake.