Dilshan, Paranavitana score ton against England Lions

Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan in action during their practice match against England Lions Getty Images

London: May 21, 2011

Sri Lanka batsmen Tillakaratne Dilshan and Tharanga Paranavitana both scored their second centuries in as many matches as they warmed-up for next week’s first Test in Cardiff by hauling the islanders back into their contest against the second string England Lions.

Dilshan (117) and Paranavitana (125), following on from where they left-off in the win over county side Middlesex, responded to the challenge of following-on by taking Sri Lanka to 392 for six at stumps on the third day of four at Derby on Saturday.

That left the tourists, who started the day 227 behind, with a lead of 165 at the close and so leaving the Lions with plenty to do if they were to force victory on Sunday’s final day.

Sri Lanka captain Dilshan scored in typically brisk fashion, striking two sixes and 17 fours in a mere 110 balls. Left-hander Paranavitana proved an ideal foil, facing 216 balls in an innings featuring 18 boundaries.

Meanwhile, a scan on Sri Lanka spinner Ajantha Mendis’s Achilles problem has revealed no obvious injury.

England are due to name their Test squad on Sunday and Steven Finn did his prospects no harm in a lively afternoon spell that yielded two wickets for the Middlesex fast bowler.

Both Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara, vying for the England middle-order spot created by Paul Collingwood’s Test retirement, are playing in this match.

Morgan scored 193 in the Lions’ first innings 493 for eight declared.

But the fact the former Ireland left-hander spent the early part of the English season playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL), rather than the County Championship, may count against him.

Bopara, by contrast, decided to miss this year’s IPL and the Essex all-rounder’s ability to bowl spirited medium-pace could also give him the edge over Morgan when it comes to Test selection.

The first Test between England and Sri Lanka, the opener in a three-match series, is set to start in Cardiff on Thursday.