Galle - Debutant
Ben Foakes hit a defiant and unbeaten 87, guiding England to safety -
after Sri Lanka claimed cheap early wickets - on 321 for eight at the
end of the first day of the first Test.
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
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.
Herath claimed his 100th Test
scalp at Galle after sending back England skipper Joe Root in the
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
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.