Pelsall Trio Net With Internationals

Pelsall Cricket Club's Danny Pennell, Stephen Blews and Jamie Holmes recently got the opportunity to test out their mettle against England and Sri Lanka's star players at Edgbaston.

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Ahead of the decisive fifth One-Day International at the home of Warwickshire, the trio swapped the Staffordshire Premier Division for Mahela Jayawardene, Alastair Cook and Kumar Sangakkara.

Pennell has captained the Walsall Road cricket club for the last three seasons and has been associated with the cricket club since playing in the youth age groups.

Blews signed for Pelsall four seasons ago, having spent 10 years at Springvale Cricket Club. Holmes has also been involved at Pelsall from an early age, also representing Staffs throughout the youth age-groups.

England netted first at Edgbaston as Peter Moore’s coaching staff arrived along with the their senior batsmen which included Cook, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Ravi Bopara and Eoin Morgan.

"The only way to describe the feeling as we stood at the end of our mark ready to bowl at the world’s best as Moores stands on, eagerly watching is ‘Intimidating’," Blews said.

"All that goes through your head as you set off to bowl that first ball to Alistair Cook is 'please don’t throw it Into the side of the net'.

"As the net session went on and the bowlers relax, the more you notice just how good the batsmen are and that there is absolutely no room for error.

"Every England player made you feel welcome and was more than happy to have a few pictures taken.

"It was an amazing experience to be allowed into the England think tank as batsmen discussed field placements with bowlers to help them bowl to a plan.

"Peter Moores chatted with the batsmen about technique and how they were going to play against Malinga."

"Sri Lanka, on the other hand, were far more regimented," Blews added.

"Three bowlers in each net and set periods of time for each batsmen meant that the bowling workload was eased after a long morning session with England.

"It was a pleasure to watch all of Sri Lanka’s bowlers bar Malinga who wasn’t there, club cricketer followed by international player.

"You couldn’t help but watch on in awe of the seamer’s pace and power along with the spinner’s trickery.

"Sri Lanka on the whole was more business-like as Chaminda Vaas called the shots from the side of the nets.

"On the whole it was an amazing experience that was shared by three friends and team-mates, each watching on as the other claimed scalps of international batsman, without celebration just a little look to each other to see if they had witnessed what had just happened."

Sri Lanka went on to win the game by six wickets, with it claiming the series 3-2.

But did the trio witness any of the Sri Lankan bowlers practising their 'Mankading'? And was Jos Buttler backing up properly?

© Cricket World 2014

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Fixtures & Results

20th May: Twenty20 International, The Oval, London
Sri Lanka 183-7 (T Perera 49) beat
England 174-7 (Hales 66) by nine runs
22nd May: 1st ODI, The Kia Oval, London
England 247-6 (Ballance 64, Bell 50) beat
Sri Lanka 144 (Jordan 3-25) by 81 runs (D/L)
25th May: 2nd ODI, EDICG, Chester-le-Street
Sri Lanka 256-8 (Dilshan 88, Gurney 3-59) beat
England 99 (Senanayake 4-13) by 157 runs
28th May: 3rd ODI, Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester
England 73-0 (Bell 41no, Cook 30no) beat
Sri Lanka 67 (Jordan 5-29) by 10 wickets
31st May: 4th ODI, Lord's, London
Sri Lanka 300-9 (Sangakkara 112, Dilshan 71) beat
England 293-8 (Buttler 121) by seven runs
3rd June: 5th ODI, Edgbaston, Birmingham
Sri Lanka 222-4 (Thirimanne 60no) beat
England 219 (Cook 56) by six wickets
12th-16th June: 1st Test, Lord's, London
England 575-9 dec. & 267-8 dec. drew with
Sri Lanka 453 (Sangakkara 147) & 201-9
20th-24th June: 2nd Test, Headingley, Leeds
Sri Lanka 257 & 457 (Mathews 160) beat
England 365 & 249 (Moeen Ali 108no) by 100 runs