England captain Joe Root’s double century in the first innings of the first test, helped The Three Lions on their way to a seven wicket win over hosts Sri Lanka. Tourists England who had skittled the 1996 world champions out for just 135.
In reply to this paltry total, England largely thanks to Root (228) and some good support from Dan Lawrence (73) on debut, were able to pile on the runs (all 421 over them). The hosts, were now well and truly on the back foot.
After a crushing defeat by South Africa, you wouldn’t have blamed Sri Lanka for feeling a sense of ground hog day.
To the Asian side’s credit, they dug in, in the second innings. Angelo Matthews (71), Kusal Perrera (62) and emotional Lahiru Thirimanne century (111) helped the home side make 359 all out second time round.
The second innings was a much better showing by Sri Lanka. Nothing summed out their second innings better than Thirimanne’s second test ton, seven years after his first.
Despite a battling second innings showing, tourists England just needed 74 to win the first test in Galle.
What seemed a very small total, was threatening the to be a challenging one. Sibley, Crawley and Root were all back in the pavilion cheaply.
England’s scorecard read 14-3, which really raised the question of a shock win. Jonny Bairstow (35 not out) and Dan Lawrence (21 not out) saw the tourists home without any further scares.
The second and final test of this series will also be in Galle. England, will go into that test looking to extend their unbeaten nine game run in tests.
Sri Lanka, will go into the final test, no doubt looking to restore pride. The final test starts on 22nd January.