Eng­land take Test opener in Sri Lanka

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SPORTS -

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.

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