Leeds - Alex Hales and Jonathan Bairstow frustrated Sri Lanka after debutant
all-rounder Dasun Shanaka sparked a top-order collapse on the first day
of the first Test against England at Headingley on Thursday.
who were 70 for four soon after lunch, had moved on to 171 for five
when rain prevented any play after tea and forced an early close to an
intriguing opening day in the 75th Test staged at Headingley.
batsman Hales, under pressure for his place after a modest return in
England's series win in South Africa, was a Test-best 71 not out with
Bairstow, on his Yorkshire home ground, unbeaten on 54.
so far unbroken sixth-wicket partnership of 88 helped England recover
after Shanaka's treble strike helped justify Sri Lanka captain Angelo
Mathews's decision to field first.
Mathews won the toss in
overcast conditions reminiscent of those at Headingley two years ago
when his side triumphed in the second Test to seal their first series
win in England.
England captain Alastair Cook, who started his
innings needing just 36 more runs to become the first Englishman to
score 10,000 in Tests, got off the mark with a trademark clip off his
legs for four.
But the left-handed opener was caught behind for 16 going for a cover drive off a wide but full delivery from Shanaka.
deliveries later and still in the 21st over, Shanaka had the under-fire
Nick Compton out for nought with first slip Lahiru Thirimanne holding a
Joe Root, England's recently crowned player of the year in all formats, also fell for a duck to Shanaka as he edged to gully.
who scored a hundred in Sri Lanka's final warm-up match without hinting
at his worth as a bowler, had taken three wickets for one run in eight
The 24-year-old's return again proved the value of accurate
medium pace in conditions offering some assistance, if not extravagant
movement, for swing and seam bowling.
England were 57 for three at lunch.
Hales was then 38 not out, with debutant James Vince unbeaten on nought.
getting off the mark Vince, 25, whose elegant style has been compared
to that of Michael Vaughan, struck two fours - a cover-drive and
straight drive - worthy of the former England skipper.
Vince, who recently scored a hundred at Headingley for Hampshire against
county champions Yorkshire, exited for nine when he nicked Shaminda
Eranga, to gully.
All-rounder Ben Stokes struck three fours but holed out tamely to mid-on off Nuwan Pradeep.
completed an admirable 112-ball fifty in the circumstances when he
drove Dushmantha Chameera behind point for his 10th four.
former captain Andrew Strauss retired four years ago, eight batsmen -
including Hales - have had spells as Cook's opening partner without
making the position their own.
But Thursday saw Hales, whose
previous Test best score of 60 came against South Africa at Cape Town in
January, demonstrate he could rein himself in when the bowlers were on
Bairstow was given out lbw on 41 but successfully reviewed
the decision and soon afterwards lofted spinner Rangana Herath for six.
Lanka then reviewed a not out call in favour of the wicket-keeper when
Herath's lbw appeal was rejected, with replays again favouring Bairstow.
Players from both sides wore black armbands in memory of all those killed by recent flooding and landslides in Sri Lanka.