England's first team may have been embarrassed by spin on the sub-continent but their reserve side – the Lions – proved that it is possible to master alien conditions as they beat Sri Lanka A by 67 runs to record their second successive win in the one-day series in Dambulla.
Somerset's South African-born wicketkeeper-batsman Craig Kieswetter cracked an unbeaten 112 off 99 balls to take the Lions to 293, which was a good total after they had limped to 57 for 3 after choosing to bat.
The middle-order pair of Jos Buttler and Samit Patel hit out to rally around Kieswetter. Buttler made 40 of a stand of 48 with him and Patel 43 in putting on 100 with Kieswetter off just 76 balls to post a substantial score. Kieswetter smashed six fours and as many sixes.
Sri Lanka A's chase began well but quickfire strikes from Hampshire spinner Danny Briggs and Leicestershire paceman Nathan Buck pegged them back. The sixth-wicket pair of Kushal Perera and Kosala Kulasekara added 65, but Patel and Briggs took three wickets each as Sri Lanka were all out for 226.
As if things aren't bad enough for England on the field, the Aussies have now piped up off it. Middle-order batsman Mike Hussey has underlined Australia's determination to reclaim the No 1 Test ranking from England, revealing that his team-mates speak about it "every day".
Australia sit fourth in the official rankings after completing a 4-0 series whitewash over India in Adelaide. It was a fourth consecutive series without defeat for Australia since Michael Clarke took over as skipper following their 3-1 Ashes humiliation 12 months ago.
At that stage Australia had slumped to fifth place but under Clarke, and new coach Mickey Arthur, they have hinted at a renaissance. Young names such as James Pattinson, David Warner and Patrick Cummins have helped fuel Australia's improvement, with Hussey, 36, spelling out the team's target.
"There's no hiding our ambition in the wake of our 4-0 win," Hussey said. "We want to reclaim the world No 1 mantle from England. How often do we talk about it? Every day. But we know there's a huge improvement to be made if we're to conquer the old enemy next year in England."Reuse content