Morgan and Root star in England warm-up against ambidextrous spinner


England captain Eoin Morgan hit nine fours and three sixes
Tour match (50 overs), Colombo (P Sara Oval)
Sri Lanka Cricket XI 287-9 (50 overs): Chandimal 77, Kamindu 61, Moeen 3-42
England 215-2 (35.3 overs): Morgan 91*, Root 90*
England won by 43 runs (DLS method)

England beat a Sri Lanka Cricket XI in a weather-affected warm-up for this month’s one-day international series.

Set 288 to win, the tourists reached 215-2 off 35.3 overs when bad light intervened for the second time in Colombo, giving them victory by 43 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.

Joe Root made an unbeaten 90 and captain Eoin Morgan struck 91 not out in an unbroken 174-run partnership.

England face Sri Lanka in a five-match ODI series, starting on 10 October.

Ambidextrous spinner Kamindu Mendis bowled both right-arm off-spin and slow left-arm during the tourists’ chase at the P Sara Oval.

The 20-year-old switched, depending on whether the left-handed Morgan or right-handed Root was on strike – looking to turn the ball away from both batsmen and finishing with figures of 0-37 off eight overs.

Earlier, England off-spinner Moeen Ali bowled both openers Dimuth Karunaratne (25) and Lahiru Thirimanne (23) before trapping Kusal Mendis lbw for 22 to finish with 3-42 off 10 overs.

A strong SLC XI included captain Dinesh Chandimal, who will lead Sri Lanka in all formats against England after Angelo Mathews was sacked as limited-overs skipper, and he struck 77 before he was removed by Root.

Kamindu, batting left-handed, added 61 and Isuru Udana hit 40 as the hosts posted 287-9, with Mark Wood and Ben Stokes taking two wickets each.

Fast bowler Olly Stone, on his first tour with England, went wicketless in conceding 32 runs off six overs, while fellow seamer Chris Woakes was expensive, conceding 55 runs off his six overs.

In reply, Jonny Bairstow was trapped lbw for just three by Udana, while fellow opener Jason Roy made 27 before he was dismissed by Kasun Rajitha to leave England 41-2.

But Morgan and Root kept their side ahead of the required run rate to ensure victory when play was suspended for the final time.

England will face a Sri Lanka Cricket XI again in another 50-over warm-up game at the same venue on Saturday.

‘Fantastic for the game’

England all-rounder Moeen said he was fascinated by the emergence of Mendis, who bats left-handed and has yet to play a first-class match.

“It’s amazing he was so accurate with both arms and really it will be the way cricket is going to go,” the 31-year-old said.

“I’ve tried bowling left-arm but I was so bad – you just don’t have that same feel.

“You hear rumours about these guys being around but for him to bowl to that standard and be that good is fantastic.

“I’ve never seen someone do that live but it’s great and fantastic for the game.”

Ambidextrous spinner Kamindu Mendis bowled off-spin to left-hander Eoin Morgan…
…before switching to slow left-arm against right-hander Joe Root

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