Foakes leads Eng­land re­vival in first Sri Lanka Test

Gulf Times Sport - - CRICKET -

Debu­tant Ben Foakes hit a de­fi­ant and un­beaten 87, guid­ing Eng­land 321 for eight, af­ter Sri Lanka claimed cheap early wick­ets on the first day of the first Test yes­ter­day.

The Sur­rey wicket-keeper bats­man, who knows this could just be a one-off chance as Jonny Bairstow regains fit­ness, came in with Eng­land pre­car­i­ously placed on 103 for five on a Galle pitch no­to­ri­ous for low scores.

Foakes built cru­cial part­ner­ships in­clud­ing an 88-run sev­enth wicket stand with Sam Cur­ran, who made 48, to defy Sri Lanka’s bowlers.

Eng­land elected to bat first in what was Sri Lankan spin le­gend Ran­gana Herath’s farewell match.

The right-handed Foakes stead­ied the in­nings reach­ing his half cen­tury early in the fi­nal ses­sion as the tourists lost just three wick­ets af­ter lunch.

Foakes put on 61 for the sixth wicket with Jos But­tler, who was even­tu­ally caught be­hind off Dil­ruwan Per­era for 38.

Left-han­der Cur­ran at­tacked the bowl­ing, hit­ting one four and three sixes be­fore fall­ing two short of his fifty to spin­ner Ak­ila Danan­jaya.

Adil Rashid made a use­ful 35 in a stand of 54 with Foakes that in­creased the frus­tra­tion for Sri Lanka’s bowlers be­fore he be­came Per­era’s fourth vic­tim of the day.

Jack Leach, bat­ting on 14, then sur­vived some anx­ious mo­ments in the fi­nal two overs to give Foakes a chance to com­plete a mo­men­tous de­but ton on day two.

Sri Lanka’s vet­eran spin­ner Ran­gana Herath, claimed his 100th Test scalp at Galle af­ter send­ing back Eng­land skip­per Joe Root in the open­ing ses­sion.

Only two other bowlers have achieved 100 Test wick­ets on one ground — Herath’s leg­endary com­pa­triot Mut­tiah Mu­ralitha­ran who achieved it at Galle, Kandy and SSC Colombo, and Eng­land pace­man James An­der­son at Lord’s.

Herath notched up the mile­stone when Root came down the wicket and missed af­ter a breezy 35.

Root had also stead­ied Eng­land when they stum­bled to 10 for 2 af­ter debu­tant opener Rory Burns was caught be­hind off Su­range Lak­mal for nine and Moeen Ali was bowled next ball.

Sur­rey left-han­der Burns had been given the tough task of re­plac­ing stal­wart Alas­tair Cook fol­low­ing his re­tire­ment in Septem­ber.

Af­ter Root’s dis­missal, Per­era skit­tled Keaton Jen­nings four short of his 50 be­fore bowl­ing Ben Stokes around his legs for seven as he at­tempted to sweep.

Eng­land’s Ben Foakes plays a shot dur­ing the first day of the open­ing Test match be­tween Sri Lanka and Eng­land at the Galle In­ter­na­tional Cricket Sta­dium in Galle yes­ter­day.

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