Livingstone defies heat to score century for England Lions

Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone continued his impressive form for England Lions in Sri Lanka with a century in demanding conditions on the opening day of the second four-day match.

Livingstone’s 105, alongside a half-century from Tom Westley, led England Lions to 339 for 9 while left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara took 7 for 114 from 37 overs.

Such was the heat in Dambulla that Livingstone was covered in ice towels during the tea interval but managed to reach his century from 133 balls before becoming one of Pushpakumara’s seven wickets.

“That’s by far the hottest I’ve ever batted in,” Livingstone said. “I suppose that’s what we do our winter training for, to get prepared for those conditions. It’s a tough place to bat for a long time but it’s our job to be in the right condition to do it.

“I was pretty hot when I came off for tea – the guys had some towels in buckets of ice. I think we had to run three twos in three balls and I nearly keeled over. But that’s the reason you do your training. That’s where your hards in the gym…finally you see that they’re worthwhile. It’s all part of the challenge of playing out here. You’ve just got to embrace it and get on with it, and try your best to get through and be as fit as you can.”

It was another up and down batting performance from the Lions. Keaton Jennings made 44, but when he fell to Pushpakumara the Lions were 77 for 3.

Westley and Livingstone combined to add 110 for the fourth wicket, Westley making 68 off 105 balls before Pushpakumara turned one from outside leg stump to clip off.

Livingstone and Ben Foakes then joined forces to add 83 as the Lions moved onto the healthy position of 270 for 4. However, Foakes was caught behind and the lower order proved less productive than it had in the previous match as Pushpakumara continued to cause problems.

At 313 for 9 it appeared the Lions may not bat out the day, but the last-wicket pair of spin duo Ollie Rayner and Jack Leach added an unbroken 26. Leach, the left-arm spinner, had been brought into the side after missing the first four-day game after not being completely comfortable with his remodelled action.