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Sri Lanka wins in opening Under-19 ODI at Chelmsford | Reddy Anna

Rocky Flintoff makes England bow alongside three other debutants in 65-run loss

Sri Lanka U19 294 for 6 (Perera 58, Shanmuganathan 57, Abeywickramasingha 52) beat England U19 229 (Thain 58, Benkenstein 51) by 65 runs | Reddy Anna

Sri Lanka U19 294 for 6 (Perera 58, Shanmuganathan 57, Abeywickramasingha 52) beat England U19 229 (Thain 58, Benkenstein 51) by 65 runs | Reddy Anna
Sri Lanka wins in opening Under-19

A fourth-wicket partnership of 90 between Essex pair Noah Thain and Luc Benkenstein on home turf at Chelmsford could not prevent England Under-19s from subsiding to a 65-run defeat in the first of three one-day internationals against Sri Lanka - Reddy Anna.

Benkenstein was the more flamboyant, hitting two sixes in his 50-ball 51, while Thain anchored the innings with six fours in his 58 from 69 balls. However, when Thain and his captain departed eight balls apart after a 16-over stand, it left England facing an uphill task in chasing down 295 to win in 50 overs. They fell well short with 27 balls unused.

Sri Lanka's 294 for 6 was powered by three contrasting half-centuries from the middle order. Dinura Kalupahana smashed his 52 from just 37 balls, while Sharujan Shanmuganathan required 75 balls for his 57, and Mahith Perera took 60 balls for his 58.

Set to score at just shy of six an over, England were up with the rate after six overs when they lost their openers in the space of six balls to Sri Lanka's off-spin pair of Vihas Thewmika and Thisara Ekanayake. Freddie McCann was bowled by one that kept low, and Keshana Fonseka, who had driven sweetly for five fours in his 25, chipped to short third man.

Charlie Allison had been playing second fiddle to his Essex team-mate, Noah Thain, and tried to remedy it by hitting Thisara straight out of the ground, only to be caught on the boundary for eight from 20 balls. The second all-Essex partnership proved more productive, with Benkenstein launching sixes over midwicket and long-off, followed by a classic cover drive for four. Benkenstein went for another big heave two balls after reaching his half-century and was caught on the midwicket boundary off Hivin Kenula.

Praveen Maneesha then ripped the heart out of England's batting in the space of seven deliveries, having Thain play around one and Haydon Mustard late on another. Rocky Flintoff, the 16-year-old son of Freddie Flintoff, was Hivin's second wicket when he tried to beat mid-off. Farhan Ahmed lasted two balls before lobbing back to Vihas Thewmika. Harry Moore played defiantly for his 26 before falling to Vihas, and Noah Cornwell was bowled to end the match.

Middlesex's Cornwell claimed 3 for 54 on his ODI debut, including dismissing the Sri Lankan openers in an over after England had won the toss and put the visitors in on a green-tinged wicket of variable bounce. Pulindu Perera had hooked fellow pace bowler Harry Moore over the wicketkeeper's head for six in the previous over but fell edging an inswinger to first slip. Thisara followed, violently pulling Cornwell to short fine leg.

Thain claimed the third Sri Lankan scalp when Gayana Weerasinghe hooked into deep square leg's hands, putting England in the ascendency. Dinura led the counter-offensive, contributing 34 of the first fifty in a fourth-wicket stand worth 73 with Sharujan, including lofting McCann over midwicket for six. But he departed one short of a half-century, playing down the wrong line to be lbw to Benkenstein.

Sharujan had been more tortoise to Dinura's hare but scampered the single that took him to a 64-ball fifty. However, he fell seven runs later when sweeping the parsimonious off-spinner Farhan Ahmed to short fine leg after helping Mahith add 67 for the fifth wicket. Mahith and Diniru put on in the last 10 overs, with Mahith nudging Cornwell for the single that took him to his fifty from 55 balls. Diniru slapped Moore over square leg for a second maximum before reaching his own half-century from just 34 balls. He became Cornwell's third victim when bowled off the penultimate ball of the innings.

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