Brandon bowler Tymal Mills helped put England Lions in charge after day three of four against Sri Lanka A in Pallekele today.

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Test rookies Chris Woakes and Scott Borthwick led the charge for England in the first match of the Lions’ tour of Sri Lanka.

Lions captain Woakes (92no), who made his Test debut and won his only cap to date in last summer’s drawn Ashes match at The Oval, shared an eighth-wicket stand of 155 in only 33 overs with Borthwick (64).

The leg-spinner also has just one Test to his name so far after being thrust into the final match of England’s Ashes whitewash in Australia at Sydney last month.

Woakes hit eight fours from 130 balls, and Borthwick five from 96 in the Lions’ 319 for eight declared second innings, seeing Suffolk 21-year-old Mills miss out on a chance to bat, following a knock of 18 in the first innings as part of a 36-run stand for the final wicket alongside Graham Onions.

Captain Woakes, who also took four for 45 in the hosts’ first innings, came in at 138 for six after Moeen Ali and Jonny Bairstow had both gone caught-behind off Dhammika Prasad.

Off-spinner Tharindu Kaushal (three for 98) then trapped Liam Plunkett lbw, but Woakes and Borthwick scored freely until the latter was stumped off Kaushal.

Woakes was unbeaten just short of his century but decided England had enough runs, challenging Sri Lanka A to make a highly-improbable 479 to win.

He soon set about proving so with the ball too, in an initial spell which brought him two for 10 in five overs.

The hosts lost both openers with only four runs on the board but recovered to a still very vulnerable 164 for five at stumps.

Fast bowler Mills, who shadowed the England senior team Down Under during this winter’s Ashes defeat, didn’t take any wickets in his seven overs, but only conceded 11 runs and recorded three maiden overs.

That follows figures of 38 for no wicket from 11 overs in his first innings, so the Brandon youngsters goes into tomorrow’s final day looking for his first wicket of the tour, to help the Lions take Sri Lanka’s remaining five wickets for less than 315 runs.

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