Strauss and Trott impress for England

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Andrew Strauss Andrew Strauss

Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott compiled chanceless centuries on day two of England's pre-Test warm-up but Ian Bell's struggles continued on a flat pitch in Colombo.

Responding to the Sri Lankan Development XI's 431 for six, the England openers shared a stand worth 197, both retiring upon reaching three figures to allow others some time at the crease. But Bell, who had a woeful time against Pakistan and lasted just two balls in his previous innings on tour, fell tamely for 14 to leave him well short of runs ahead of next week's first Test.

Strauss declared with his side 159 behind, improving Bell's chances of a second bat on the final day, and the hosts finished on 44 for one. After a free-scoring eight overs, the Development XI were 203 ahead.

England were made to field for almost an hour in the morning session, conceding 55 runs before reaching the agreed first-innings maximum of 100 overs. Angelo Perera was the only man out, upper-cutting Steven Finn to third man for 85.

England had little trouble in finding the ropes, with Trott's trademark flick through midwicket and a Strauss drive bringing up a brisk half-century stand and by lunch the pair had put on 60 without loss.

By tea they were 193 without loss and twin hundreds were a formality. Both batsmen retired promptly upon reaching their landmarks, with each taking 140 deliveries.

That left Kevin Pietersen and Bell to enjoy the conditions but, despite bright starts from both, that plan never materialised. Bell struck his second ball for six but was on his way for just 14 when he turned Tharanga Lakshitha to midwicket.

Pietersen, meanwhile, compiled a breezy 26 - including a six of his own - before he was beaten by the slow left-armer Sajeera Weerakoon and stumped.

Ravi Bopara and Samit Patel were in at five and six, with both men hoping to do enough to earn a Test spot next week, but the pair had just 12 apiece when Strauss made his bold declaration at 272 for four.

Stuart Broad, who had bowled three overs in the morning, saw his first two balls disappear for four but trapped Malinga Warnapura lbw for his fourth wicket of the match.

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