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Foakes, spinners put England on top in first Sri Lanka Test

England batsman Ben Foakes raises his bat after completing his maiden Test hundred in the 1st Test against Sri Lanka at Galle, on Wednesday.
 GALLE, Nov 7: England spinners led by Moeen Ali helped dismiss Sri Lanka for 203 and build on their advantage after wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Foakes’ debut ton in the first Test on Wednesday.

 The islanders conceded a 139-run lead in response to England’s 342 after being bowled out in the final session of play on day two on a turning Galle pitch notorious for its low scores.

Ali claimed four wickets and was ably supported by fellow spinners Jack Leach and Adil Rashid who took two each.

England were 38 for no loss at stumps in their second innings, stretching their lead to 177 runs. Debutant Rory Burns, on 11, and Keaton Jennings, on 26, were batting at close of play.

But it was Foakes who stood out with his patient yet effective batting in England’s first essay to give the team a challenging total after electing to bat first.

The 25-year-old Foakes, who replaced injured Jonny Bairstow converted his overnight 87 to 107 in the morning session to become only the fifth wicketkeeper-batsman to score a hundred in his first Test.

For Sri Lanka, Angleo Mathews top-scored with 52 and put on a crucial 75-run stand for the fifth wicket with skipper Dinesh Chandimal, who made 33, to frustrate the opposition bowlers.

Rashid broke the key stand after getting Chandimal stumped on a classic leg-spinner but Mathews went on to register his 30th Test 50.

He did not trouble the scorers after the tea break as Ali got the dangerman trudging back to the pavilion in the first over of the final session.

Dilruwan Perera, who picked up five wickets in the England innings, crossed 1000 Test runs on his way to 21. He became the fastest Sri Lankan to claim a double of 100 wickets and 1,000 runs.


England 1st innings (overnight 321-8): R Burns c Dickwella b Lakmal 9, K Jennings b Perera 46, M Ali b Lakmal 0, J Root b Herath 35, B Stokes b Perera 7, J Buttler c Dickwella b Perera 38, B Foakes c De Silva b Lakmal 107, S Curran c Chandimal b De Silva 48, A Rashid c De Silva b Perera 35, J Leach c de Silva b Perera 15, J Anderson not out 0. Extras: (b1, lb1) 2. Total (all out, 97 overs) 342. Fall of wickets: 1-10, 2-10, 3-72, 4-98, 5-103, 6-164, 7-252, 8-306, 9-330, 10-342. Bowling: Lakmal 18-5-73-3, Perera 31-6-75-5, Dananjaya 20-2-96-1, Herath 25-4-78-1, De Silva 3-0-18-0.

Sri Lanka 1st innings: D Karunaratne c Foakes b Anderson 4, K Silva lbw b Curran 1, K Mendis b Ali 14, D de Silva c Stokes b Leach 19, A Mathews c Jennings b Ali 52, D Chandimal st Foakes b Rashid 33, N Dickwella c Buttler b Ali 28, D Perera c Buttler b Leach 21, A Dananjaya c Foakes b Ali 0, S Lakmal c Anderson b Rashid 15, R Herath not out 14. Extras: (LB-2) 2. Total (all out, 68 overs) 203. Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-10, 3-34, 4-40, 5-115, 6-136, 7-171, 8-173, 9-175, 10-203. Bowling: Anderson 10-0-26-1, Curran 6-1-16-1, Leach 18-2-41-2, Ali 21-4-66-4, Rashid 9-1-30-2, Stokes 4-0-22-0.

England 2nd innings: R Burns not out 11, K Jennings not out 26. Extras: (LB-1) 1. Total: (no loss, 12 overs) 38. Bowling: Perera 5-0-12-0, Lakmal 3-0-14-0, Herath 3-0-10-0, Dananjaya 1-0-1-0. – AFP

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