England cruise to victory

What was Dhananjaya de Silva thinking? Pic Fox SportsMore

With no realistic chance of winning after conceding a 139-run first innings lead to England, Sri Lanka tried in vain to force Rangana Herath's farewell test into its final day. Sri Lanka's top-order collapse mirrored England's wretched start in the first innings, but lacked a Foakes-style rescue in their middle order.

They played some outstanding cricket.

"It's a really hard day for us because we all know how much Rangana has done for the team and Sri Lankan cricket", said Chandimal in the post-match presentation.

Dhananjaya de Silva applied himself well during his 21 off 44 balls, hitting Moeen for six, but in the over lunch pushed loosely at Ben Stokes and was taken by first slip by Joe Root. Never before had an English cricket team won the opening match of a Test series in Sri Lanka. 'We can go to Kandy with huge amounts of confidence and look to still improve and get better'. The work ethic throughout leading into this game has been exceptional so if that can continue throughout the tour - and we stay really clear about how we want to go about things on the pitch - then great.

Kaushal Silva and Dimuth Karunaratne had denied them for more than an hour for a 51-run stand and might well have batted the entire session had they focused on defence rather being tempted into more aggressive strokes.

Stokes said before the day's play that he expected Moeen, Leach and Adil Rashid to do the most damage, with the ball spinning more quickly off the pitch as the match has progressed.

During the Galle Test, Herath became the second oldest cricketer to pick up a wicket apart from becoming the third bowler in the history of the game to take 100 Test wickets at a venue.

Even Angelo Mathews could easily have fallen for a trap that England set for him early in his innings, when he pulled a short ball from Ben Stokes to the midwicket fielder, but he earned a reprieve as he was dropped by James Anderson.

Such an ambition is a long way from being fulfilled but the 211-run victory was Root's first as captain overseas and ends a winless sequence of 14 matches stretching back to October 2016 when England beat Bangladesh in Chittagong.

Jennings played out five balls on 98 before tea but the wait did not knock him off his groove and he safely strolled through for two more runs after play resumed.

"The seamers might not get the praise they deserve throughout this game, they built a lot of pressure".

'They outplayed us in all three departments of the game'.



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