‘Out­stand­ing’ Eng­land spin out Sri Lanka in Galle

Set a mam­moth 462 to win, Ali, Leach and Stokes bun­dle out the hosts for 250

Gulf Times Sport - - FRONT PAGE -

Sri Lanka cap­tain Di­nesh Chandi­mal paid trib­ute yes­ter­day to an “out­stand­ing” Eng­land af­ter Moeen Ali spun the vis­i­tors to a com­mand­ing first Test vic­tory in what was Ran­gana Herath’s swan­song be­fore re­tire­ment.

Set a mam­moth 462 to win, sus­tained pres­sure from Ali, fel­low spin­ner Jack Leach and ag­gres­sive seam bowl­ing from Ben Stokes bun­dled out the hosts for 250 on day four.

The 211-run vic­tory, Eng­land’s first Test win away from home in 13 matches, leaves Joe Root’s men 1-0 up in the three­match se­ries, with the sec­ond Test start­ing in Kandy on Wed­nes­day.

“We played some re­ally good stuff,” Root said. “We can go to Kandy with huge amounts of con­fi­dence and look to still im­prove and get bet­ter.”

Eng­land had se­cured a firstin­nings lead of 139 thanks to a cen­tury on de­but by Ben Foakes — man of the match — and a for­mi­da­ble spin at­tack led by Ali and as­sisted ably by Leach and Adil Rashid restrict­ing Sri Lanka to 203 in re­ply.

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 for six.

“Our bat­ting was be­low-par dur­ing the game, you can’t stay in the game (with this kind of bat­ting),” said Chandi­mal.

“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.

Root, who only man­aged 35 and 3 with the bat him­self, said he was “very proud” of his team, pay­ing trib­ute to his “ex­cel­lent” bowl­ing unit and to some “cru­cial

knocks” by Eng­land’s bats­men.

“We’ve done our home­work and made sure we came here know­ing how we were go­ing to try and ap­proach things,” Root said.

“It’s been a fan­tas­tic start of things and we’ve got to build on it and make sure we don’t just rest on our lau­rels now. We will work very hard now be­fore that sec­ond Test match and hope­fully back up a re­ally good per­for­mance.”

FOR­MI­DA­BLE

Fif­teen with­out loss overnight, Sri Lanka’s open­ers Kaushal Silva and Dimuth Karunaratne with­stood the pres­sure from Eng­land’s for­mi­da­ble bowl­ing at­tack for the first hour on Fri­day.

But both fell af­ter at­tack­ing shots, with Kaushal leg be­fore try­ing to sweep Leach for 30 and Karunaratne caught and bowled by Ali — who took four wick­ets in both in­nings — for 26 as he skipped down the pitch for an at­tempted heave.

Dhanan­jaya de Silva, af­ter a con­fi­dent start, was caught at first slip by Root off Stokes in the last over be­fore lunch for 21. The ball ear­lier he was given out but re­prieved on re­view.

Af­ter the break Kusal Mendis hit Leach for four over his head but at­tempt­ing a re­peat the next ball skied the ball to Ali, de­part­ing for an oth­er­wise im­pres­sive 46.

Chandi­mal, suf­fer­ing from a groin in­jury that kept him off the pitch all of Thurs­day, was skit­tled by Leach for 11. Niroshan

Dik­wella fell the first ball af­ter tea, caught adroitly by Stokes one-handed at slip off Ali for 16.

Soon af­ter­wards An­gelo Mathews — dropped on 18 by James An­der­son — went for 53, caught by Jos But­tler at mid­wicket with Ali again the wicket-taker. He was fol­lowed into the pav­il­ion by Ak­ila Danan­jaya for 8.

Last out was sil­ver fox Herath, cricket’s most suc­cess­ful lef­t­arm spin­ner, run out for five in his swan­song be­fore re­tire­ment.

Chandika Hathu­rus­ingha, Sri Lanka’s coach, said his side were play­ing catch-up since lunch on day one when Eng­land turned the match around hav­ing been five down for 103.

“Af­ter that, the way they bat­ted, they took the game away from us. From there on we were chas­ing the game. In Test cricket, es­pe­cially on wick­ets like th­ese, it is very dif­fi­cult to come back,” he said.

“They out­played us in all three de­part­ments of the game.”

‘ 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 — Di­nesh Chandi­mal, Sri Lanka cap­tain

(Reuters)

Eng­land’s Moeen Ali (sec­ond from right) cel­e­brates with his team­mates Ben Stokes (right), Jack Leach (cen­tre), Keaton Jen­nings (sec­ond from left) and Ben Foakes af­ter tak­ing the wicket of Sri Lanka’s Niroshan Dick­wella (not pic­tured) on Day Four of the first Test in Galle, Sri Lanka, yes­ter­day.

(AFP)

Sri Lanka’s Ran­gana Herath (sec­ond from right) is car­ried off the field by team­mates af­ter the first Test against Eng­land yes­ter­day.

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