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By Riley Taylor

Written by Riley Taylor

Day 1 Scorecard

England 321-8, Foakes 87 not out, Curran 48, Jennings 46. Perera 4-70

Sri Lanka: Yet to Bat.

Ben Foakes helped repair an early England batting collapse after Sri Lanka’s veteran spinner Rangana Herath dismissed Joe Root in his final Test.

Foakes made an impressive 87 not out and built strong partnerships with Jos Buttler, Sam Curran and Adil Rashid which helped England recover from 103-5 to 321-8.

Surrey duo Rory Burns and Foakes were handed their debuts, before captain Joe Root won the toss and elected to bat first on a good batting pitch.

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Burns looked positive early on, hitting a boundary off Herath but was out in the next over, strangled down the leg side by Suranga Lakmal for nine. It got worse for England next ball as Moeen Ali was bowled by a beauty of a delivery by Lakmal.

This brought Root to the crease batted positively along with Keaton Jennings as they put on a 62-run partnership for the third wicket. Root eventually played one shot too many as he yorked himself stepping down the track to Herath and was out for 35.

Jennings then fell four short of a half-century when he was bowled by Dilruwan Perera. Batting partner Ben Stokes then fell for seven attempting to sweep Perera and England found themselves at 103-5.

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Buttler and Foakes then came together and helped England out of a tough situation, the wicket-keeping pair forming a partnership of 61. However, after looking set Buttler was dismissed after edging a ball that kept low through to wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella off Akila Dananjaya.

Sam Curran came to the crease and played sensibly with Foakes, producing the highest partnership of the day, 88. This took the England total over 250 with Foakes reaching a half-century in the process. Curran, though, was out for 48, caught at slip by Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal.

Rashid joined Foakes and then went all guns blazing as he smashed four fours and two sixes in a rapid 35. Rashid failed to see out the day as Foakes closing in on a debut century as he swiped at a Perera delivery and Dhanajaya de Silva took the catch at slip.

It was nervy times for the Colchester-born wicketkeeper as he watched Somerset spinner Jack Leach edge multiple balls short of slip. However, Leach was able to guide England home to the close of play as England finished on 321-8.

Sub-edited by Daniel DeFalco

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May 2024