COLOMBO - Moeen Ali followed up taking three wickets with a blistering half-century from 21 balls as England completed a confidence-boosting win over Sri Lanka A in their opening warm-up match.

The promotion of Moeen to open alongside Alastair Cook instead of Alex Hales was viewed as a backward step but England were quickly on the front foot in pursuit of Sri Lanka A's 199 from 43 overs. Moeen struck six fours from the first over he faced, which also included a wide from Vishwa Fernando, and he collected 11 boundaries in all before falling for 56.

Any concerns that England's batting might want for power without Hales were allayed by an opening stand of 94 in 13 overs and Cook went on to his own half-century at not far off a run a ball. While the bowling attack was limited, with only Jeevan Mendis having significant international experience, runs in any form will be welcome to Cook.

When bad light forced the players off, England were well ahead on the Duckworth-Lewis method, with Ian Bell and Joe Root also spending time in the middle. The match had been shortened to 43 overs per side after rain delayed the start and England's bowlers produced a somewhat erratic display, allowing the hosts to recover from 49 for 3 and 122 for 6. Moeen was the pick of the attack with 3 for 29 from nine overs, while James Tredwell and Chris Woakes were economical without taking wickets. Kusal Perera provided substance at the top of the Sri Lanka A innings, hitting seven boundaries in his 56 before becoming Steven Finn's second wicket. Finn was a touch expensive, although Chris Jordan's five wicketless overs for 48 will have been more concerning, as England donated 14 wides and three no-balls to the total.

After the captain, Ashan Priyanjan, became the sixth wicket to fall, an unbroken partnership between Mendis and Ramith Rambukwella lifted Sri Lanka A up towards 200. Thanks to Moeen's early dash, however, England got their tour off to a comfortable start.



K Perera c Ali b Finn    56

J Silva c Buttler b Finn    2

N Dickwella c Tredwell b Ali    17

D Chandimal c Cook b Ali    0

A Priyanjan c Buttler b Stokes    31

H Kandamby c Morgan b Ali    0

A Mendis not out    42

L Rambukwella not out    30

EXTRAS: (lb3, w14, nb3)    20

TOTAL: (6 wkts; 43 overs)    198

FOW: 1-5, 2-49, 3-49, 4-104, 5-105 (, 6-122

BOWLING: Finn 8-1-43-2, Woakes 8-1-20-0, Tredwell 8-2-33-0, Ali 9-0-29-3, Jordan 5-0-48-0, Stokes 3-0-15-1, Root 2-0-7-0


A Cook c Rambukwella b Gamage    54

M Ali c Chameera b Gamage    56

I Bell not out    16

J Root not out    15

EXTRAS: (w4)    4

TOTAL: (2 wkts; 25 overs)    145

FOW: 1-94, 2-116

BOWLING: Gamage 7-1-36-2, Fernando 1-0-25-0, Rambukwella 5-0-29-0, Priyanjan 4-0-22-0, Chameera 5-0-18-0, Mendis-3-0-15-0

TOSS: Sri Lanka A

UMPIRES: R Kottahachchi, P Udawatta