Som­er­set’s Leach and But­tler com­bine to claim Test match wicket in Sri Lanka

Western Daily Press - - Front Page - RORY DOL­LARD Press As­so­ci­a­tion

SOM­ER­SET’S Jack Leach ful­filled an am­bi­tion which was years in the mak­ing dur­ing Eng­land’s dom­i­nant sec­ond day against Sri Lanka, link­ing up with child­hood friend Taun­ton-born Jos But­tler on the big­gest stage of all.

The tourists had plenty of rea­sons to cel­e­brate as they grabbed con­trol of the first Test - from Ben Foakes adding two catches and a stump­ing to his mem­o­rable de­but cen­tury to Moeen Ali’s four-wicket haul at Sri Lanka’s favourite spin­ning venue of Galle.

Throw in wick­ets for four other bowlers, 12 drama-free overs to start Eng­land’s sec­ond in­nings and a 177run lead and there was much for the trav­el­ling fans to be sat­is­fied about.

But for Taun­ton-born Leach it was a per­sonal mo­ment that drew the big­gest re­lease of emo­tion, But­tler hang­ing on at cover when Dil­ruwan Per­era went af­ter the slow left-armer - repris­ing a part­ner­ship first seen at Som­er­set Un­der-11s.

“I was just run­ning at him shout­ing ‘caught But­tler, bowled Leach!’. Those were my ex­act words,” he said.

“That was a nice mo­ment for me and I hope for him, as well. To be out there with him is some­thing very spe­cial for me.

“It’s bril­liant. We started at un­der­11s to­gether. That would have been the first ever ‘caught But­tler, bowled Leach’.

“To be in an Eng­land shirt to­gether is very spe­cial. It makes us proud and a lot of peo­ple back home proud as well.”

Leach started the day hop­ing to have the best seat in the house for Foakes’ hun­dred, walk­ing to the mid­dle with Eng­land 321 for eight and with the Sur­rey wick­et­keeper 13 runs short of his land­mark.

When Leach nicked to slip, Foakes still needed five more.

“I was gut­ted when I got out, I was des­per­ate to get him over the line,” said Leach.

“I couldn’t do it but Jimmy An­der­son did it so that’s fine. I was jump­ing up and down in the chang­ing room when he got there.”

Re­flect­ing on the mo­ment he be­came the 20th Eng­land player to hit a hun­dred on de­but, and only the sec­ond glove­man af­ter Matt Prior, Foakes added: “When I hit that ball it was a re­lief to say the least.

“It’s a weird feel­ing, just so much re­lief. Joy and what­not too, but just re­lief at fi­nally do­ing some­thing you set out to do as a kid. It was in­cred­i­ble.

“Eng­land have got so many good keep­ers I never thought I’d get a game to be hon­est... the last cou­ple of years I prob­a­bly didn’t think this would come.”

Keaton Jen­nings and Rory Burns were due up first this morn­ing for Eng­land, hav­ing al­ready built a plat­form of 38 for nought, their task hav­ing been made eas­ier by the ef­forts of the bowl­ing unit, who hus­tled the hosts out for 203 in just 68 overs.

“It pretty much went to plan for us,” ad­mit­ted Leach.

“We talked at the start of the day about try­ing to get as many runs as we could and when we went out to bowl just putting as much pres­sure on as pos­si­ble.

“We felt we had a good to­tal on the board and what Joe (Root, cap­tain) asked of us, we pretty much did it.”

ENG­LAND tamed Sri Lanka in their own con­di­tions on day two of the sec­ond Test in Galle, with Ben Foakes’ dream de­but and a ruth­less dis­play of spin bowl­ing putting them in full con­trol.

The tourists bat­ted at the start and the end of the day - all out for 342 then 38 with­out loss at stumps - and in be­tween rolled Sri Lanka over for 203 in just 68 overs.

With a lead of 177 and three days to go, a first English vic­tory at this famed Sri Lankan strong­hold is well within sight.

Foakes started the day by putting the fin­ish­ing touches to a classy maiden cen­tury and was last man out for 107 af­ter adding 20 his overnight score.

He then gave a taste of the wick­et­keep­ing skills which earned him his call-up in the first-place. Dimuth Karunaratne al­lowed the Sur­rey man to open his in­ter­na­tional ac­count af­ter just two balls in the field, feel­ing for James An­der­son’s outswinger, and later he pro­duced a highly ac­com­plished stump­ing to break Sri Lanka’s best part­ner­ship of the day.

There was one more chance to im­press and he duly took it, pouch- ing a thick edge safely stand­ing up to the stumps in the midst of a Sri Lankan col­lapse which saw them cough up a po­ten­tially match-defin­ing firstin­nings deficit.

There is a po­ten­tially tick­lish dilemma com­ing for the se­lec­tors, with Foakes giv­ing ev­ery im­pres­sion of be­ing un­drop­pable and pre­vi­ous in­cum­bent Jonny Bairstow re­cov­er­ing fast from his an­kle in­jury.

To fo­cus solely on Foakes’ con­tri­bu­tions would be to do a ma­jor dis­ser­vice to the Eng­land at­tack, though, and par­tic­u­larly their trio of tweak­ers.

Sri Lanka are used to bundling vis­it­ing teams out with spin in Galle but here they were the prey, los­ing eight wick­ets to the turn­ing ball. Moeen Ali led the way with four for 66 while Adil Rashid and Jack Leach took two apiece.

With An­der­son and Sam Cur­ran re­mov­ing one opener each with the fleet­ing swing of­fered by the new ball, things were go­ing close to plan in the field.

All that was needed to put a rib­bon on the day was for Keaton Jen­nings and Rory Burns, fit af­ter a blow to the back of the neck field­ing at short leg, to ne­go­ti­ate 12 overs be­fore stumps and they did so with min­i­mal fuss.

Play be­gan with Eng­land 321 for eight and sev­eral thou­sand sets of fin­gers crossed that Leach and An­der­son could linger long enough to see Foakes from 87 to 100.

He promptly stroked the first ball of the day for four and was five short of his land­mark when Leach nicked Dil­ruwan Per­era to slip. A nervy mo­ment, per­haps, but one Foakes ban­ished with two more bound­aries, pulling Su­ranga Lak­mal to fine leg then punch­ing back down the ground to cel­e­brate in style.

He was gone mo­ments later but had al­ready inked his name into the record books as Eng­land’s 20th de­but cen­tu­rion and just the sec­ond wick­et­keeper, fol­low­ing Matt Prior in 2007.

The Sri Lanka in­nings was topped and tailed with a clus­ter of wick­ets, 42 for four in 19 overs be­fore lunch and 67 for five in the 19 overs af­ter tea.

What hap­pened in the af­ter­noon ses­sion was a cool-headed aber­ra­tion as both Di­nesh Chandi­mal (33) and An­gelo Mathews (52) knuck­led down. Only Foakes’ stump­ing of the for­mer pre­vented Eng­land go­ing wick­et­less for two hours.

Ei­ther side they bat­ted raggedly. Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva both failed to see the shine off the ball, af­ter which it was spin all the way.

Leach’s nag­ging dis­ci­pline earned him the scalps of Kusal Mendis and Per­era, while Rashid was used more spar­ingly on his way to two for 30.

Moeen reaped the big­gest re­wards, though, bowl­ing Dhanan­jaya de Silva on the sweep and get­ting the key scalp of Mathews with the first ball af­ter tea. By now in a groove, he tempted Niroshan Dick­wella and Ak­ila Danan­jaya to give up catches in suc­ces­sive overs.

Pic­ture: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Eng­land bowler Jack Leach, left, con­grat­u­lates Jos But­tler af­ter the pair com­bined to dis­miss Sri Lanka bats­man Diruwan Per­era

Pic­ture: AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena

Eng­land’s Keaton Jen­nings, right, suc­cess­fully takes a catch to dis­miss Sri Lanka’s An­gelo Mathews

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