Ford positive despite tough opening tour game

Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford said his team gained a lot out of their opening tour game in England, against Essex, even though they were put under severe pressure by the county side.

The Asian side came away with a draw in the three-day encounter after the final day was washed out with the tourists fighting for survival on 42 for two in their second innings after the hosts racked up 412 for four in 100 overs.

Some Sri Lanka batsmen at least got some valuable time in the middle on day one after being bowled out for 254, something which Ford is pleased about as they continue preparations for the three-match Test series against England.

Ford told ESPNcricinfo after the game on Tuesday: "There is no doubt that we could have done with the time out there. We are going to require more time to adjust to the conditions.

"One or two of the batters showed some decent form and, pleasingly, there weren't many soft dismissals, but without question we are going to have to work on how we play the swinging ball.

"The bowlers needed a bit of a gallop but I felt that, while we didn't start great with the ball, there were patches yesterday where we bowled a hell of a lot better.

"Yesterday was a long day for the bowlers, and I'm sure they will have benefitted from that; time in the legs, having to bowl long spells and hit good areas for sustained periods.

"We batted on quite a lively wicket on day one, which was a test and some players showed some form on that, then the wicket did get a bit flatter and we had to work quite hard with the ball. That's a pretty reasonable exercise, I'd say."

Sri Lanka play another three-day game against Leicestershire starting on Friday before heading down to Leeds to start preparing for the first Test at Headingley on 19 May.

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