Cricket: Young England's rude awakening in paradise

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The Independent Online
England A were yesterday given a crash course in the disciplines required to combat the unique problems posed on the sub-Continent following their shock defeat in their opening warm-up game in Colombo.

Graham Gooch, the manager, and Mike Gatting, the coach, have seen it all before on numerous England campaigns to India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and spent many hours warning the young A party of the difficulties they may encounter during the eight-week tour to the paradise island.

Yet many were still shocked at the number of questionable umpiring decisions, the debatable action of off-spinner Batheesha de Silva and the amount of turn on a wicket supposedly prepared for a one-day match in the aftermath of Saturday's 40-run defeat by a President's XI.

All the players volunteered for an extra net practice prior to today's three-day match against the President's XI with less than a fortnight before the opening unofficial Test in the three-match series against Sri Lanka A in Kurunegala.

Gooch said: "If they were under any illusions about how hot the conditions are over here or how tough the cricket is, then they certainly aren't now."

England A (to face a President's XI in Colombo, today): N V Knight (capt), S P James, D L Maddy, M A Ealham, D J Sales, B C Hollioake, D C Nash (wkt), D R Brown, A F Giles, D A Cosker, J Ormond.