COLOMBO, Nov 21 (Reuters) England's bowlers were forced to toil for a second successive day today as a Sri Lanka Board President's XI took their first innings total to 500 for five declared on the second day of their three-day match.
When the declaration finally came shortly after tea, a tropical thunderstorm washed out the rest of the day leaving England's batsmen with just one day's practice to come.
Upul Tharanga (112) and middle order batsmen Chamara Kapugedera (141) and Thilina Kandamby (107 not out) each scored impressive centuries.
England opted to give their quick bowlers short spells and relied heavily on their spin pair Graham Swann and Monty Panesar.
However, both found it difficult to contain the President's XI batsmen, finishing with a combined analysis of two for 229 from 52 overs.
Fast bowler Steve Harmison's entry into the game was delayed due to a lost kit bag at the airport and when he did bowl he conceded 48 runs in six overs including six no-balls and a wide.
Swing bowler Matthew Hoggard was the pick of the tourist's attack claiming one for 45 from 18 overs, including the wicket of Tharanga who steered Hoggard's fifth delivery of the day to Ravi Bopara in the gully.
Hoggard's breakthrough was followed by a 142-run stand in 29 overs between Kapugedera and Kandamby, both members of the Sri Lanka A team.
England will play three tests against Sri Lanka starting on December 1 in Kandy.
REUTERS PDS ND1926