Alex Lees scored a 94-ball century in baseball style against England Lions Sri Lanka XI

SL President’s XI 93 on 2 trails England Lions 413 for 320 on 8 Dec (Lees 103, Haynes 64*, Bohannon 58, Abel 57, Smith 50)

Alex Lees He lived up to the pace benchmark he set during the summer in England’s Test ranks with a 94-ball century on the first day of the England Lions’ tour of Sri Lanka.

Lees, who made his Caribbean debut in March last year, played seven Tests for England in a remarkable summer under the new leadership of Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes, but was dropped after scoring 327 at 25.15 on the recent tour of Pakistan. Two half centuries.

His omission from the ECB’s list of central contracted players is another sign that he has slipped down the pecking order, with the likes of Jack Crowley and Ben Duckett in Pakistan, but his performance against Sri Lanka’s President’s XI was clear evidence that the new mentality of the Test team is firmly entrenched in his psyche. Either.

He hit 12 fours and two sixes in his 103-run innings, the second-fastest century in England Lions history, behind Luke Wright – the new national selector – who reached the mark off 91 balls in New Zealand in 2009.

Speaking before the tour, Lees admitted that an England comeback may not be on the immediate horizon given the importance of supporting Test incumbents in the current regime. But despite his occasional success, particularly in two key run chases against New Zealand and India, he admitted that his top score of 67 in ten Tests was his downfall.

“I think I enjoyed being in that environment, especially playing on a successful team in the summer,” he said. “It was great. I think my reflection on playing these games, I played pretty well but just lacked those big scores that were obviously the difference. As a top-order batter, you average mid-twenties to mid-forties. Which is basically, for the summer, your Tests are built around summer.”

Nevertheless, Lees’ influence rubbed off on the Lions’ batting card with a very “buzzball” look, as England declared on 413 for 8 after 67 overs, a performance that was better than one run a ball and included four more halves. -Centuries by Tom Abel (57), Josh Bohannon (58), Jack Haynes (64 not out) and Jamie Smith, whose 35-ball No. 8 was the fastest by an England player at Lions level.

Haseeb Hamid was another man at the top of the Test batting order in 2022, his most recent appearance coming in the Ashes in Sydney in January, but he did rather less well in his first outing as Lions captain. He fell on the first ball of the match, caught by Kabindu Pathiratne in the first over of the match.

In reply, the President’s XI reached 93 for 2 in 19.5 overs before the end, with spinners Liam Patterson-White and Jack Carson both picking up a wicket.

The Lions are fielding 16 of their players, who are not classified as first-class, in this match in Colombo. The President’s XI used ten bowlers in England’s innings.

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