George Bartlett was in an upbeat mood despite another defeat for England’s Under-19s in Colombo today – and not only because the Somerset youngster had continued his impressive tour with his second half century in a week.
“We’ve come on in leaps and bounds over the three games, definitely,” said the 17-year-old, who has taken a break from his A-level studies at Millfield School to play in the Tri-Series in Sri Lanka.
“We really fought well in the field because at one stage they were looking on course to make 300. Then we had a couple of good partnerships with the bat, and it was a shame we couldn’t quite make it in the end.
“But that’s given us all confidence that we can win our last game against Sri Lanka on Friday, in which case we will hopefully still make the final.”
Bartlett, who made 94 in last week’s warm-up game, added 70 off 80 balls to lead England’s reply to India’s total of 261.
England were eventually all out for 241 off the third ball of the last over of their innings.
They had done well to pull India back from 201 for two in the 38th over, taking eight for 60 in the remaining 12.
Hampshire legspinner Mason Crane took three wickets in the space of two overs, with Somerset’s Ryan Davies claiming a stumping and Bartlett pouching two catches.
“It has been a real challenge out here because of the different conditions and the quality of the opposition,” added Bartlett.
“I came out here a few years ago with Millfield and then we went to India last year, so I had some idea what to expect. I’ve tried to play positively and express myself.”
After impressive performances at Under-17 level in last year’s Super 4s, Bartlett’s first Under-19 call-up has given him the chance to stake a claim for a place in the World Cup which starts in Bangladesh at the end of next month.
That would mean further disruption to his studies, but he added: “It’s definitely manageable – I’ve been combining the schoolwork with sport for a while. There are a few of us out here who have to do a few hours on non-match days, although it’s not so bad at the moment because it’s the Christmas holidays at home anyway.”
Bartlett’s Somerset team-mate Ben Green is also in that category, in his case at Exeter School. He was rested from today’s game as England manage his recovery from a recent injury, but Bartlett praised his performance on the tour so far.
“Ben has bowled really well,” he said. “He’s had a chance with the new ball and shown what he can do, and also come back and varied his pace in the later overs.”