England Academy recovered from the depths of 57/7 to post a half-decent 157 all out against a very young and inexperienced Sri Lanka XI, and then bowled their opponents out for just 118 in the 35th over, to win the first unofficial ODI by 39 runs.
The England innings was held together by skipper Tammy Beaumont, who showed her experience to put together a knock of 69 from 111 balls. She was the eighth wicket to fall having opened the innings with Amara Carr (0) who edged behind in the first over of the match. From there on until Alex McDonald (20) came to the crease it was a procession of batsmen coming in and going out again. Fran Wilson (2) was bowled; Helen Shipman (3) was caught at short midwicket; Georgia Hennessy was lbw going back to a length ball; Hollie Armitage was caught and bowled; and Jodie Dibble was another backfoot lbw victim. At 57/7 in the 20th over England were in a mess, but in McDonald Beaumont finally found a partner who could stick around with her. The pair added a priceless 75 runs in 17 overs without too many alarms with Beaumont in particular punishing the odd bad ball. In fact it was a surprise when Beaumont was bowled in the 37th over to leave England on 132/8. McDonald's 52 ball stay at the crease ended 10 runs later when she edged Dharmasiri (3/26) to the keeper's left side, where she took the catch at full stretch. With 12 overs of the innings left Carla Rudd (16) and Freya Davies (6*) did their best to use as many as possible, but Rudd was bowled in the 45th over by one that cut back from opener Kanchana (2/28) after a useful partnership of 16 runs in seven overs, leaving England with 157 and at least something to bowl at.
But things looked rather ominous as Sri Lanka raced to 13 after just six legitimate balls from openers Odedra and Davies, but when Davies finally got her radar sorted out she claimed the first wicket trapping G Perera lbw for a duck. Odedra claimed the first of her three wickets (3/28) in her third over as Weerakkody (10) flashed outside off stump and edged through to keeper Rudd. In her next over she accounted for Hansika (6), bowled, and in the next N Perera (0) caught low at first slip by Beaumont. Sri Lanka had slipped to 38/4. When Gunawardene (13) smashed a long hop from Dibble down Hennessy's throat at deep back ward square they were 49/5 and that soon became 58/6 and then 59/7 as Lakshika (7) was bowled by Dibble cutting a ball too close to her body, and skipper Surangika (2) was adjudged lbw to McDonald. Harshita (8) and Dharmasiri (26*) did what they could to rebuild the Sri Lankan innings, but Harshita was caught well by Beaumont at silly mid-off off Butler's offspin (3/23). Dharmasiri found another willing ally in Kanchana (9), but when she eventually fell to Butler caught well on the midwicket boundary by Wilson, Sri Lanka were all but done for at 109/9. It took another four overs for Butler to wrap up the game for England when she claimed her third wicket as number 11 Ranaweera was given out lbw.
Top scorer for Sri Lanka was the England wide count of 30 (perhaps another reason why these girls need to be playing more white ball cricket?). England may have used up their Get Out of Jail Free card in this game and will want to bat much better and bowl much straighter in the final game on Tuesday.
scorecard - http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/710585.html