Bell hands early edge to England

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The Independent Online

Four wickets from the captain Ian Bell helped England A edge the first day against Sri Lanka A in Colombo. Bell's bowling earned figures of 4 for 18 in nine overs as the hosts, who chose to bat, were all out for 145 at the Nondescripts club ground.

But the England batsmen also found conditions tricky, reaching 118 for 5 at stumps.

Bell's efforts were complemented by two wickets each for the fast bowler Sajid Mahmood and off-spinner Richard Dawson. England struggled in reply but still had Owais Shah unbeaten on 27 at the close after Bell was out for 31.The tricky leg-spinner Malinga Bandara (3 for 38) did most damage for Sri Lanka.

In Christchurch, Australia crushed New Zealand by nine wickets in the first Test. New Zealand were skittled for 131, Shane Warne taking 5 for 39 to pass 1,000 first-class wickets.

Australia then cruised to 133 in 32 overs as Justin Langer (72) and Ricky Ponting (47) shared an unbroken 110 stand.