Moeen bowls Eng­land to big win over Sri Lanka

Stabroek News - - SPORT -

GALLE, Sri Lanka, (Reuters) - Spin­ners Moeen Ali and Jack Leach com­bined to de­stroy Sri Lanka and bowl Eng­land to a com­pre­hen­sive 211-run vic­tory in­side four days in the first test on Fri­day.

With no real­is­tic chance of win­ning af­ter con­ced­ing a 139run first in­nings lead to Eng­land, Sri Lanka tried in vain to force Ran­gana Herath’s farewell test into its fi­nal day.

Yet while An­gelo Mathews made his sec­ond fifty of the match and Kusal Mendis con­trib­uted 45, the rest of their bat­ting or­der failed to of­fer sub­stan­tial re­sis­tance and they col­lapsed for 250.

Moeen claimed 4-71 as he and fel­low spin­ners Leach and Adil Rashid shared eight of the 10 Sri Lankan wick­ets.

Play­ing his 93rd and last test, Herath was the last man out, div­ing into his crease in a failed ef­fort to avoid be­ing run out.

“Very proud, I thought the way we played through­out the four days is ex­cel­lent,” Eng­land cap­tain Joe Root said, sin­gling out Ben Foakes, whose cen­tury on de­but earned him the man-ofthe-match award, for spe­cial praise.

“For a guy to come in on his de­but and play an in­nings of that sub­stance... re­ally proud of him,” he added.

Be­gin­ning day four on 15-0, Sri Lanka needed a solid start to pro­long their bat­tle and overnight bats­men Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva saw through the first hour with­out any dam­age as they put on 51 runs for the open­ing stand.

Karunaratne en­joyed a slice of luck on 16 when he edged Moeen, but Stokes grassed an easy catch at slip.

Stokes was later sub­jected to sim­i­lar agony as he watched James An­der­son drop Mathews off his bowl­ing.

Leach even­tu­ally made the break­through when Silva could not con­nect with a sweep shot and was dis­missed leg be­fore wicket for 30.

He was soon joined in the dress­ing room by Karunaratne (26), who charged down the pitch against Moeen and drove it straight back to the off-spin­ner, gift­ing him his 150th test wicket.

Kusal Mendis added 46 runs with Mathews for the fourth wicket, but he too could not con­vert a good start into a big in­nings and fell for 45.

Leach bowled Di­nesh Chandimal for one, the Sri Lanka cap­tain strug­gling to move be­cause of a ham­string in­jury, but Moeen struck the big­gest blow when he dis­missed Mathews for 53, ef­fec­tively end­ing Sri Lankan re­sis­tance.

“It was a very good wicket but our bat­ting was be­low-par,” Chandimal said, adding it was not the farewell that he and his team mates had imag­ined for Herath.

“It’s a hard day for us, be­cause we know how much Ran­gana has done for the team and Sri Lanka cricket...We’ll have to say ‘sorry’ to him, we couldn’t give him a re­ally good farewell.”

Chandimal, who bat­ted through pain in both in­nings, said he had sus­tained a grade one groin strain and was not sure how long it would take to heal.

The sec­ond match of the three-test se­ries is in Kandy, start­ing on Nov. 14, be­fore the fi­nal con­test in Colombo from Nov. 23.

Moeen Ali

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