President's XI 500-5, England 315-6 (match drawn): England batsmen locate comfort zone in first trial on Sri Lankan pitches

It was retirements and runs, not dismissals and defeat, that dominated the final day of England's opening warm-up game in Sri Lanka. With the exception of Kevin Pietersen, who spliced a short ball to gully on four, each of England's batsmen spent valuable time acclimatising at the crease. Michael Vaughan, the England captain, was the only other player to be dismissed on a day when four of the tourists' batsmen retired once they had gained the practice they required.

Sterner tests lie ahead for England's batsmen, who posted 315 runs yesterday for the loss of two legitimate wickets, starting with Sunday's game here in Colombo. Vaughan and Peter Moores, the England coach, will have been concerned by the lack of cutting edge shown by their bowlers on the opening two days but the pair will have been delighted by how the batsmen fared.

The most encouraging aspect of England's batting was the way in which it dealt with the Sri Lanka Board President's XI spinners. Not one of the four slow bowlers used by the hosts compares to Muttiah Muralitharan but, on a turning pitch, England dealt with them comfortably. Batting time in the nets is useful but nothing compares to time in the middle and, apart from Pietersen, each spent 90 minutes or more at the crease.

"Over the three days we have learnt a lot about ourselves and the conditions we are going to play in," Vaughan said. "We have come a little bit closer to deciding on the 11 that will play for England in the first Test, but there is still another game to go and another opportunity for players to impress.

"It will be quite tricky to get the squad down to a final 11 in Kandy. There are still a couple of places up for grabs and we won't necessarily play our Test side in Sunday's game. We may look at another couple of players over the next couple of days. Ideally, though, you want your Test players to get as much practice as they can."

Matches such as this often lack intensity and end up being a waste of time, but the desire of the players on each side to impress ensured that it remained competitive. "A game in which you can play 16 players is always going to be nothing more than a warm-up," Vaughan admitted. "But what we tried to do was give every bowler the opportunity to bowl some overs, all the fielders enough time in the field to get a feel for what it is like here and each batsman enough time in the middle to make it worthwhile.

"The next three-day game is a first-class match and we have to hit that very hard, you can't just keep replacing players on the pitch. Sometimes when you've got 16 guys playing and seven or eight bowling it can become a little confusing. You don't get to understand your spells as much as you do when you are only playing with 11, so the next three-day game is crucial to our development going into that first Test in Kandy.

"I am happy with what we got out of the practice. We worked hard over the three days and we are looking forward to the next one and the Test series that follows it. I was also happy with my 38."

And so he should be. Vaughan was in excellent touch, clipping the seamers beautifully off his legs and driving them pleasantly down the ground. Batting became more difficult when Malinga Bandara, the Sri Lankan leg-spinner, was brought on and Vaughan was trapped lbw by him in his third over, attempting to work a straight ball through the leg-side.

Alastair Cook, opening with Vaughan for the first time, was his usual unflappable self. Cook top-scored with 63 but both he and his captain will have to learn to rotate the strike so that neither gets bogged down at one end. Both batsmen are hard at the ball when they defend a technique that sends the ball quickly to fielders. In the conditions here they need to learn to drop the ball into gaps to take quick singles.

Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood were industrious and aggressive. Each was prepared to advance down the pitch to a spinner and hit the ball over the top. The same tactic against Muralitharan could prove more dangerous.

The retirement of the pair gave Owais Shah, Ravi Bopara and Matthew Prior a chance to bat. Was the fact that Shah batted before Bopara an indication that he may play ahead of the all-rounder in the first Test? All will be revealed on Sunday, when the cricket begins to get a bit more serious.

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
News
An Apple iPhone 6 stands on display at the Apple Store
businessRegulators give iPhone 6 and 6 Plus the green light
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Britain's internet habits have been revealed in a new survey
tech
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
film
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Arts and Entertainment
music
Life and Style
tech
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
News
i100
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Arts and Entertainment
film
News
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style