Last Updated: 06/11/18 12:12pm
Ben Foakes’ unbeaten 87 on debut helped England fightback after Rangana Herath claimed his 100th Test wicket on day one at Galle.
Ben Foakes hit an unbeaten 87 on England debut as the tourists closed day one of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle on 321-8.
Foakes, only called into the England Test squad following Jonny Bairstow’s ankle injury towards the end of last month’s ODI series, put on 61 with Jos Buttler (38), 88 with Surrey team-mate San Curran (48) and then 54 with Adil Rashid (35) after England had tumbled to 103-5.
Sri Lanka vs England
November 7, 2018, 4:15am
Rangana Herath also enjoyed a good farewell as he claimed his 100th Test victim at Galle, and 431st overall, when he bowled England captain Joe Root (35).
Moment of the Day
For Sri Lanka and their fans, much of this Test match was about whether the retiring Herath could pick up 100 wickets at Galle and match the feat he had already achieved in Kandy and Colombo.
Needing one scalp to complete the milestone, it was fitting that the veteran spinner would reach it by bowling England’s most important player – captain Root.
It was a vital point in the visitors’ innings too as the dismissal of Root led to another collapse, with England losing 3-31 in 7.3 overs leaving their innings to hand by a thread.
Stats of the Day
Tuesday was the first time since 1999 (v South Africa, Port Elizabeth) that four of England’s top five batsmen were bowled in their first innings.
Herath was exceptionally consistent with his lengths, bowling all but two deliveries between 2.5m and 5.5m from the batsman’s stumps. He made the batsman play with every ball he bowled and drew a false shot with 13 per cent of his deliveries.
Curran has only failed to pass 20 in one of his nine Test innings to date. Of England players to have faced 100+ balls since his debut, only Bairstow (31 per cent) has attacked a higher percentage of balls than his 30 per cent. (via CricViz)
Selection issues dominated much of the pre-Test discussion and Root and head coach Trevor Bayliss opted for three spinners in Jack Leach, Moeen Ali and Rashid – meaning Stuart Broad was left out.
Foakes was also preferred as wicketkeeper, with Buttler continuing in the side as a specialist batsman but Joe Denly missed out on a maiden Test cap.
The decision to play Foakes definitely seemed vindicated, after he ended the day as England’s top runscorer, but questions remain – namely over whether Ali should stay batting at three, how Foakes will fare behind the stumps and if the away side’s three spinners can work in tandem effectively.
What they said
Rob Key: “What I like most is how Foakes is watching that ball onto the bat. He didn’t play too many attacking shots – he did what you have to do out there, which is back his defence.”
Tweets of the Day
Ben Foakes showing Test match batting not dead out in Galle – application, composure and treating the ball on its merits. Unfashionable but effective
— Derek Pringle (@derekpringle) November 6, 2018
Watch day two of the first Test between Sri Lanka and England, in Galle, live on Sky Sports Cricket (channel 404) from 4.15am on Wednesday.