Jack Leach claimed the best figures by an England Lions spinner but could not prevent the side losing to West Indies A in Jamaica.
Somerset star Leach recorded match figures of 8-110, beating Graeme Swann’s 8-156 against Zimbabwe in 1999, after bagging 5-26 from 13 overs in West Indies A’s second innings on the fourth and final day.
Leach’s burst saw the hosts tumble from 51-1 to 98-8 chasing a nominal target of 106, before Rahkeem Cornwall helped West Indies A to nervy two-wicket win, Cornwall sealing victory with a boundary off Mason Crane.
England will now look to rebound in the second game of the three-match series, which gets underway at Sabina Park on Sunday.
“We gave it a good go – but unfortunately we couldn’t quite get over the line,” said Leach. “It was always going to be difficult, but on that wicket, things happen pretty quickly.
“I feel in a much better place about my game. The Lions training camp in Australia before Christmas was a really tough trip for me, but I learned a hell of a lot playing on those wickets, which were totally different.
“I watched Nathan Lyon bowl on those wickets in the Ashes, seeing how he goes about things, and trying to take things from that. I changed a few things to try and get a bit more energy on the ball.
“I’m always trying to get better and better. I probably feel now the most on top of my game I have – it’s just about mentally trying to deliver those skills.
“It’s definitely nice to be up there with Swanny. He was a great bowler, and obviously the aim for me is to go on and succeed in Test cricket as he did.”