SRI LANKA'S ENGLAND TOUR, 2018
Cricbuzz Staff •
Foakes was undefeated at 87 on stumps. © AFP
It was a two-story day for England, as they threw themselves in the foot in the first session before coming back strong in the next two to finish the day in 321/8. The rebound was led by England rookie Ben Foakes who showed great maturity, application and determination to overcome the Sri Lankan challenge and finish Day 1 of the first Galle Test with an unbeaten 87.
In a team full of strokemakers, Foakes stood out with his ability to lower his head and clear the challenging phases. He was well supported by Jos Buttler (38) and Sam Curran (48), with two successive 50+ helping England to move from 103/5 to 252/7. Foots then took second place with an attacker Adil Rashid as the third consecutive 50+ helped England out of 300 races at the end of the day.
The day was supposed to be about Rangana Herath, who went out to an honor guard in his final test, but Suranga Lakmal and Dilruwan Perera stole the show in the first session, before Foakes' effort took the spotlight in the second half of the day.
England won the draw and chose to battle, choosing two rookies in Foakes and Rory Burns and a veteran in a test of Jack Leach in Galle. They came out with an enthusiastic approach, with the team committed to facing the three-threat battery of Sri Lanka.
But it was Lakmal who became head-destroyer at first. He had Rory Burns grabbed the side of his leg before tearing the first ball off Moeen Ali's stump, turning around in the wicket. England continued its aggressive approach, with Joe Root and Keaton Jennings employing sweep and slog regularly. The movement bite them back as Root jumped at Herath and eventually killed himself.
Jennings 'attempt to interrupt a Dilruwan outing made him score four, less than fifty, while Ben Stokes' unappreciated priest from the same pitcher had him play for 7.
The main order of England failed again, and was left to its lower order to rescue them. They had the right person in Foots for the job. He and Jos Buttler played with much more caution in the second session, putting in a 61-race alliance that helped England achieve safety. The change in plan was very apparent. Scans, oars, and large shots disappeared – instead, a direct defense and attack turn prevailed. And so, the wicket began to look much more normal.
Frustrated with the lack of wickets, Sri Lanka began to err. Akila Dhananjaya sprayed the ball, and the pair hit the toll. Herath had a lot more respect – with the beaters throwing him mostly with the spin, unless the left armer gave them the obvious chance of breaking that flow.
Foakes seemed safe at the premiere, having survived a tricky start. The right-hander wore his feet and the fold well, and seemed at ease to defend himself or have to look for gaps. Buttler was also largely unconcerned, though he was more adventurous than his partner. Sri Lanka finally got their breakthrough when Dilruwan Perera's delivery was low and forced Buttler to be behind at 38. The home team opened the opening they were looking for, but Foakes, along with Sam Curran, helped to avoid further damage.
The pair added 88 races while England surpassed 250 and breathed more comfortably. Adil Rashid increased the number with a stroke of 35 balls of 38 balls, including two sixes, helping England to exceed 300. Foakes was in the 87 when the stumps were drawn.
Short Scores: England 321/8 (Ben Foakes 87 *, Sam Curran 48 and Dilruwan Perera 4-70) Sri Lanka.