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White Roars for the England Lions

Graeme White will always have happy memories of Colombo, after relishing a dream England Lions debut in which he took three wickets to play a crucial part in a five-wicket win.

The 29-year-old, who was a late call-up into the Lions squad for the one-day series against Sri Lanka A, has had to wait for his chance, sitting out the first three games in Dambulla and Kurunegala as the home team took an unbeatable 3-0 lead.

But he made the most of his first opportunity to impress, overcoming some early nerves to take three wickets in consecutive overs as the Lions restricted the Sri Lankans to 242 all out.

“I’ve enjoyed my time here,” he said afterwards. “Obviously not playing is what it is, but you’ve just got to make sure you’re prepared and ready to come in when needed. The lads have been great, being in and around them, and it was nice to help towards a victory today – I thought the lads played really well.

“I was a little bit nervous to begin with, for my first few overs, and realised I had to claw it back. But after that I felt really comfortable. It was obviously nice to get the wickets but mainly to restrict them to a score we were happy with.

“It’s nice to be out here and doing it. At 29 it’s another step closer towards your dream goal of playing for your country. It is a little bit nervewracking because you want to prove a point, that you should be here and contributing to the side. Just to be able to do that today gives you so much confidence. Hopefully it will be a stepping stone for me to go on.

“You do feel you have to prove yourself – to the coaches mainly, to some of the other players who don’t really know me as well, and there’s an England selector here as well so there’s people watching. But the boys have been really nice – since I’ve turned up they’ve been really helpful, and made me feel part of the group, so I can’t ask for much more than that.”

White also predicted that his county team-mate Ben Duckett is ready to end the series with a bang in the last game on Saturday, before they both head for Dubai to play for the North in the new North-South Series.

“There’s definitely a big score brewing,” he said. “He’s itching to play again already. I know what kind of mindset he’s in and it’s just a matter of time with him.”

White confirmed that his third wicket had given him the most pleasure, as Sri Lanka’s captain Ashan Priyanjan, one of seven members of their team with senior international experience, was lured down the pitch, beaten by turn, and smartly stumped by Surrey’s Ben Foakes.

“That’s always a nice one for a spinner, to get a stumping like that with some spin,” he added. “Again that gives you more confidence going into the next game. I think we’re playing on the same wicket on Saturday, so if I play there should be a bit in it for me.”

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