Published: Sat, November 10, 2018
Sports | By Juana Wells

England thrash Sri Lanka in first Test

England thrash Sri Lanka in first Test

Ben Foakes, who made a key 107 and 37 on debut as the replacement wicketkeeper, was named man of the match.

In the Yorkshireman's absence, debutant Ben Foakes struck a maiden century and impressed with the gloves and Keaton Jennings returned to form with an unbeaten 146no, with opening partner Rory Burns impressing without scoring big in his first Test.

"I'm very happy with the way Mathews conducted himself throughout the game, and his commitment for running between the wickets and for the batting", he said. "We'll have to say "sorry" to him, we couldn't give him a really good farewell".

They played some outstanding cricket.

Jennings' second Test ton was neither pretty nor dynamic - and offered no clues about how he might reverse his struggles on seaming decks at home - but it was a study in concentration, the kind of effort England might have feared had headed for retirement with Alastair Cook. We have a real clear plan about how we want to get to be the number one side in the world. We played in a collective way, everyone contributed.

Jennings had probably earned a slice of luck and it came when Sri Lanka declined to refer Dhananjaya de Silva's sound lbw appeal just before the break.

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

Stokes said before the day's play that he expected Moeen, Leach and Adil Rashid to do the most damage, with the ball spinning more quickly off the pitch as the match has progressed.

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

In between, Leach had bowled captain Dinesh Chandimal with a gripping beauty, and Moeen had enticed Niroshan Dickwella into edging to slip, where Stokes took the first and best of his three catches, making up for an easier chance he'd dropped earlier in the day.

Thisara Perera picked up five wickets in the innings. Angelo Mathews was the top scorer with 52 runs.

England's varied attack, which features three seamers and three spinners, probed persistently through the morning as captain Root employed attacking field placements.

He was followed into the pavilion by Akila Dananjaya for 8 before Herath - perhaps a yard or two slower than in his pomp - was beaten by Stokes's quick arm as the 40-year-old dived for his crease.

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