Sri Lanka were bowled out for 203 in their first innings Wednesday to trail by 139 against England on day two of the first Test in Galle.
Angelo Mathews helped the hosts fight back with his 52 after an early slip to 40-4 following England’s 342. Mathews departed soon after the tea break and the Sri Lankan innings folded in the final session, reports agencies. Off-spinner Moeen Ali claimed four wickets for the tourists in the match, which marks Sri Lankan spin legend Rangana Herath’s swansong.
Resuming on 87 not out, Foakes scored the 13 runs he needed to become only the second England wicketkeeper to score a century on debut. Matt Prior achieved the feat against West Indies in 2007 and Foakes replicated the former England star in Galle as the tourists recovered from 103-5 to be bowled out for 342. Moeen’s four-wicket haul then helped dismiss Sri Lanka for just 203 and England reached 38-0 by the close to build a lead of 177.
Foakes only made the England team because of Jonny Bairstow’s injury but his half-century rescued Joe Root’s side on day one after the top order collapsed in the first session of the match. And the Surrey man was not to be denied a maiden Test ton as he soon reached three figures, much to the delight of his teammates in the dressing room and the travelling England fans. Jack Leach was dismissed by Dilruwan Perera, handing the Sri Lankan his seventh five-wicket haul, before Foakes was caught in the deep to bring England’s innings to a close. England’s score of 342 looked healthy enough but a flurry of early wickets put Sri Lanka firmly on the ropes in this opening Test.
Opener Dimuth Karunaratne scored a boundary off his first delivery but nicked James Anderson behind next ball as England’s leading wicket-taker found an early breakthrough. Sam Curran, taking the new ball with Anderson as Stuart Broad was left out, followed suit in his second over, trapping Kaushal Silva LBW. Spin was introduced early and Leach had Kusal Mendis caught in the slips before Moeen bowled Dhananjaya de Silva. Captain Dinesh Chandimal and his predecessor Angelo Mathews combined to frustrate England briefly, standing firm for almost 30 overs before Adil Rashid had Chandimal stumped.
Mathews reached fifty but was also dismissed shortly after as Moeen produced a false shot to have him caught at short-leg. The enterprising Niroshan Dickwella attempted to counter-attack but became Moeen’s third victim when he was well caught by Jos Buttler at cover. Akila Dananjaya and Perera then fell in the space of nine balls before Rashid picked up his second wicket to bowl the home side out for 203. Debutant Rory Burns was forced to leave the field during Sri Lanka’s innings after being struck on the back while fielding at short-leg, but he was able to open alongside Keaton Jennings.
Jennings’ 53-ball 46 on the morning of day one drew criticism from some pundits, who questioned the need to be so attacking in a Test match. And he appeared to find the right balance on day two, hitting multiple boundaries but also leaving the ball well and nullifying the spin of Perera and Rangana Herath. Both Jennings and Burns were unbeaten at the close, with their partnership moving to 38 as England’s lead approached 200.