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AUSTRALIA V SRI LANKA U19S 3-DAY

Young guns quick to make their mark

08 April 2017

Australia Under 19s unearth two huge talents in centurions Jack Edwards and Jon Merlo

It was a perfect start to the series for Australia Under 19s, and especially for middle-order duo Jack Edwards and Jonathan Merlo, who plundered centuries on their international under-19s debuts.

Edwards hit 106 and Merlo an even 100 not out as Australia U19s reached 6dec-309 in 79.3 overs to be in the box seat after day one of their three-day clash against Sri Lanka Under 19s in Hobart.

Quick Single: Day one report, highlights

Both renowned for their clean striking of the ball, Edwards and Merlo shelved their natural games early, before plundering more than 140 runs in little more than an hour during the final session to set up a declaration.

Eighty-seven of those runs came off the bat of 18-year-old Victorian allrounder Merlo, who moved from 13 to 100 in a dominant final session from the Australians.

Merlo packs a punch with tasty U19s century

"You don't really think you're going to that. It's a dream come true," Merlo said.

"My game personally is to just go after the spinners early and try to get on top of them, try to get as deep in the crease as I can and when the ball's there just use my feet.

"Credit to the way Jack batted … His ton was awesome.

"Batting with him, we had a lot of fun and we're smiling the whole time, so it was good to bat with him and strangle it back and finish off really well as well with the ball."

Edwards, the second-youngest player in the Australian squad at 16, has made a name for himself in the Pathways system as an aggressive, limited-overs opener.

But coming in at 3-45, the New South Wales product played a different role with success.

Edwards impresses with day one century

"It was doing a bit early," Edwards said.

"They had it swinging around and they bowled really well. We were 3-40 and then we just dug in and blocked it, and after tea we cashed in against the spinners.

"I really enjoyed it. I wanted to stand up and get the boys out of a bit of a hole. It was a really good day."

A really good day indeed for an under-19s squad from which 14 of the 15 players will be eligible for the 2018 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup.

A late wicket to quick Ryan Hadley further strengthened Australia's position, but the side is under no illusions there's still plenty of work to be done to bowl Sri Lanka out twice to win the match.

"We tried to push hard late and try to get as many as we could so we could get a few overs at the Sri Lankan boys (tonight)," Merlo said.

"Tomorrow will be a tough day, it's a flat wicket so you never know what's going to happen and the (Sri Lanka) boys will probably bat really well as well, so we're going to have to be really disciplined and toil away all day."

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