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England Lions in India 2018-19

 


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All eyes were set to welcome the England Lions from the hosts India A side for a brief tour of 25 days starting from January 23, 2019 scheduled to play 5 ODIs and 2 Test matches. Players from both the squads viewed the upcoming tour as an opportunity to shine within their respective cricket boards. Having played a full-fledged series against Pakistan A in United Arab Emirates (UAE) inNovember-December, 2018 comprising of 5 ODIs, 2 T20 and a single four-day match, where the Lions managed to just grab the shortest format were hungry to outperform in the remaining formats against India.

English Cricket Board (ECB) announced their squads in mid December, a month prior of its start. Ashley Giles was appointed as the Managing Director of England Men’s cricket to succeed Andrew Strauss from the New Year. English squad proved out to be a balanced side for both the limited over and red ball format. Three players earned their first call-up to Lions. The 15 members comprised from different well-known county cricket clubs such as Sussex, Nottinghamshire, Surrey, Essex, Yorkshire & Middlesex.

On the flip side, the young guns from India A were set to bring back the lost focus and continue its dominating performance over the visitors. Dominating the 5 match ODI series to win 4-1, powerhouse combination of Ajinkya Rahane & Rishabh Pant joined in the squad for the final 2 matches already comprising likes of Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul and Shardul Thakur were set to repeat the feat in the red-ball format too.

Having elected to field first, Ankit Bawne who was given the responsibility to lead the experienced Indian test squad seemed to be fruitfulfor India. The bowling duo of Navdeep Saini & Shardul Thakur grabbed crucial wickets of opposition from both the ends to give the necessary break-throughs for India. Avesh Khan, Jalaj Saxena & Shahbaz Nadeem chipped in with a wicket each to wrap up the English innings during the 1st session of Day 2 for 340. KL Rahulprovided a stable start for India A through his sensible batting skills as the team finished at the score of 219 for loss of 1 wicket. With 2 days remaining in the 1st unofficial test and the last match of the tour scheduled to play from February 13- 16, both nations look to fine tune their respective performance and design a suitable roadmap to end the series on a high and positive note.  

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