Dan Lawrence looks to build on fine test debut
- Credit: PA
Essex batsman Dan Lawrence will look to build on an impressive Test debut to help England clinch a series win in Sri Lanka.
The 23-year-old scored 73 in his first innings in Galle last week, putting on 173 with captain Joe Root as England made 421 after dismissing the home side for 135 on the first day.
Lawrence hit a six and six fours during his three hours at the crease, facing 150 balls, to help the tourists recover from a shaky start that saw them slip to 17-2.
And, after Sri Lanka posted a more dogged 359 in their second innings, the former Trinity High School pupil arrived at the crease with England wobbling at 14-3 towards the end of the fourth day in pursuit of just 74 for victory.
Lawrence shared an unbroken 62-run stand with Jonny Bairstow to seal a seven-wicket victory, finishing 21 not out from 69 deliveries faced.
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And the debutant earned praise from skipper Root, who hit 228 in the first innings and said: “I’m very proud of those guys. It was always just going to take one partnership, two guys just grabbing it by the scruff of the neck and showing some maturity and calmness out there.
“Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do that, but for Jonny and Dan to go out and play in that manner is really impressive.
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“That’s exactly what you want to see as captain, guys getting opportunities and really taking them in both hands.”
Lawrence, who had received his England cap from Essex stalwart James Foster before the start of the Test, took to Twitter to post his own thoughts, saying: “Loved every minute of my debut this week, great start from the lads!!”
And after a fourth successive overseas win for England, following three in South Africa last winter, a feat last achieved in 1957, Root wants more to further build confidence before the trip to India.
He added: “We’ll take a lot of heart from the way we’ve gone about this game.
“If we keep learning from this game, from the good things and also the mistakes that we’ve made, we will be very hard to beat.
“It’s really important that we started off strong this winter, and really pleasing in the manner we have done it. There will be bigger challenges throughout the winter and beyond but we are going in the right direction.
“I’m really proud and pleased with the way we’ve started here and how we've gone about performing away from home recently. Look back at a couple of years and our record away from home was very poor.
“For us to have really turned that round is testament to the group of players.”