England take Test opener in Sri Lanka
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 yesterday.
With no realistic chance of winning after conceding a 139-run 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-of-the-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.
The second match of the three-Test series is in Kandy, starting Wednesday.