Galling as hosts are gunned down
ENGLAND ATTACK PUT SRI LANKA TO SWORD
England claimed their first away Test victory in 13 matches yesterday with a commanding 211run win against Sri Lanka in Galle, with Moeen Ali claiming his second four-wicket haul of the game.
Last out was silver fox Rangana Herath, cricket’s most successful left-arm spinner in his swansong before retirement, run out for five.
The hosts, chasing 462 to win in the first match of a three-Test series, could only muster 250 on day four, with Jack Leach taking three wickets to go with Ali’s four, with Adil Rashid and Ben Stokes getting one each.
England had secured a first-innings lead of 139 thanks to a century on debut by Ben Foakes and a formidable spin attack led by Ali and assisted ably by Leach and Rashid restricting Sri Lanka to 203.
In England’s second innings an assured unbeaten 146 by Keaton Jennings, his first century since a ton on his 2016 debut that has silenced his critics for now at least, allowed Root to declare at 322/6.
“Our batting was below-par during the game, you can’t stay in the game (with this kind of batting),” Sri Lanka’s captain Dinesh Chandimal said.
“Credit goes to England, they played some outstanding cricket. We had a really good start in the first session but we couldn’t capitalise on it,” he said.
Fifteen without loss overnight, openers Kaushal Silva and Dimuth Karunaratne withstood the pressure from England’s formidable bowling attack for the first hour of day four yesterday.
But both fell after attacking shots, with Kaushal leg before trying to sweep Leach for 30 and Karunaratne caught and bowled by Ali for 26.
Dhananjaya de Silva, after a confident start, was caught at first slip by skipper Joe Root off Stokes in the last over of the morning session for 21. Thereafter it was a procession. England’s varied attack, with three quicks and three spinners, applied substantial pressure.
“To be able to contribute is just amazing,” Foakes said after being named Man-of-the-Match.
“One of the best weeks of my career so far. It’s a dream come true to be fair,” said the Surrey wicketkeeper-batsman, brought in to replace the injured Jonny Bairstow. – AFP
DESTROYER. Spinner Moeen Ali claimed four wickets as England thumped Sri Lanka on the fourth day in Galle yesterday.