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England end day one of first Test firmly on top after dismal Sri Lanka batting display

Nick Hoult
·49-min read
Dom Bess celebrates taking a wicket
Dom Bess celebrates taking a wicket

Stuart Broad rated England’s day at nine out of ten. The judges would have given Sri Lanka a big fat zero for their performance such was the wretchedness of their batting.

Galle used to be Sri Lanka’s Gabba; a place where visiting teams were suffocated by the cloying humidity and unrelenting pressure exerted by the likes of Muttiah Muralitharan and Mahela Jayawardene.

Instead it was the latest scene for the “malaise” eating away at Sri Lankan cricket, as Kumar Sangakkara so eloquently put it, and England could comfortably slip into a Test match year when they will probably never have it so easy again.

Joe Root said before the Test that a two-match series can be lost in the first few hours. Well, Sri Lanka were bowled out ten minutes before tea on day one for 135, the lowest ever first innings score in Galle, on a pitch that turned but was hardly a minefield. By the close Root and Jonny Bairstow had guided England to within eight runs of their total at 127 for two.

Root was consummate in picking his strokes on his way to an unbeaten 66, and Bairstow, a fine player of spin, looked at home on his return, the two combining for an unbeaten third wicket stand of 110, England’s highest ever at Galle.

Sri Lanka were so poor it is hard to quantify England’s performance when looking ahead to India next month but confidence can only grow especially for the spinners.

Dominic Bess will never take a stranger, or softer, five wicket haul. Three were gifts, one was freakish and the other a lovely flighted off-break that beat the outside edge and hit the stumps. His 5-30 was his best Test figures and remarkable really, given he bowled too full, too often. Jack Leach was the better spinner, offering more control and turn, but luck is rarely on his side and he deserved better than one for 55.

England lost the toss and on a low, slow pitch in stifling humidity, and there have been times in the past in such situations in Asia when Broad’s head has dropped.

But picked ahead of James Anderson, the two will probably rotate in this series, Broad provided leadership with the new ball. He was breathing hard throughout and soaked in sweat after one over but he drew on all his experience. His three for 20 were a credit to his mastery of length, accuracy and use of cutters. Mark Wood bowled some nasty bouncers and Root’s tactics were sharp. The only blip was Leach misjudging a top edge at fine leg and Dan Lawrence dropping a dolly on debut. Such mistakes will cost them in India.

If Sri Lanka deserve any sympathy it was for a dreadful run of injuries. Their captain, Dimuth Karunaratne, was ruled out just before play, unsettling the team before play with Dinesh Chandmal stepping in to lead.

Some understanding has to be given to underprepared players in coronavirus times, but Sri Lanka went into this game on the back of two Tests in South Africa and while Galle is far removed from the thin air of the highveld, they should at least be attuned to the rhythms of Test cricket.

You would not have known it watching their batsmen play as if in Twenty20 mode. Two fell to reverse sweeps and others threw the bat at balls they could leave.

The camera focused on their coach, Mickey Arthur, who shook his head and chuntered under his breath. There was no need for social distancing; none of his players went anywhere near him.

The worst culprits were Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal. Others played poor shots too, but Sri Lanka’s two most senior players had started to steady the team with a 56-run stand. They had the measure of the conditions but both fell within five minutes of each other after lunch. Mathews slashed Broad to first slip and Chandimal loosely drove Leach to extra cover.

Kusal Mendis had already recorded a fourth duck in a row, caught behind off a Broad leg-cutter, and Kusal Perera set the trend of shocking dismissals trying to reverse sweep Bess’s second ball only to top edge to slip.

Dasun Shanaka was unlucky that a sweep hit Bairstow’s boot at short leg and popped up a catch to Jos Buttler and Lasith Embuldeniya was run out backing up when a hard drive flicked Leach’s outstretched right hand.

The rest had no excuses. Niroshan Dickwella cut a horrible Bess long hop to cover point, Wanindu Hasranga tried a reverse sweep and missed. Dilruwan Perera was beaten in the air by Bess, although charging his second ball was not the wisest course of action.

England’s batting was dominated by the Yorkshire pair of Root and Bairstow, the experienced heads in a sea of youth. They showed Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley, the sort of ruthless pursuit of runs you need in Asia. Crawley had played a loose shot, trying to hit over the top to be caught by mid-off stationed halfway back, to tempt him into the stroke. More worryingly, Sibley overbalanced and edged left-armer Embuldeniya to slip. Root picked length superbly, sweeping his way to a half century and ran well with Bairstow to constantly keep the score moving as England coasted.

At one stage BBC Test Match Special read out an email from a listener, Danny, who was tuning in from his hospital bed in London. Recovering after a rough time with Covid, the cricket “cheered me up no end” he said. The worries about the state of Test match batting can wait for another day. Danny had summed up perfectly why these matches are more important than that right now.

12:05 PM


Well, well, well. That is an excellent day's work from England. Sri Lanka are culpable for an awful batting performance, which gifted England such a strong position. Both England openers fell cheaply but Bairstow and Root have more than steadied the ship with a 100-run partnership, Root reaching 66 at the close of play and Bairstow just three short of a 50 batting at three. England in a very strong position. Thanks for joining us today, we'll be back tomorrow very early for day two.

12:01 PM

OVER 41: ENG 127-2 (Bairstow 47 Root 66)

Fernando bowls a lot full toss and Bairstow knocks it on the leg side for four? Looked like it but think the fielder does a brilliant job there, clawing it back from the boundary rope to save runs. Impossible to tell, actually, I think it sure looked like four on the final replay but they haven't given it, it seems. Oh wait, yes they do. Finally.

This partnership of 108 is now England's highest ever at Galle. Says a lot. A couple more to Bairstow at the end and that's stumps.

11:55 AM

Root puts a firm root down

11:54 AM

OVER 40: ENG 119-2 (Bairstow 39 Root 66)

A rare full toss from Embuldeniya is swung out to midwicket by Root. Didn't exactly time it and had to reach a bit for it. Another full bunger is this time put away by Root in the same spot but this time it finds the boundary for four and that's the 100 partnership for these two off 186 balls. Really good, solid and exactly what was required after Crawley's brainfart earlier in the day left England at two down for not very much.

England trail by just 16 and Root has moved to 66, aptly.

11:51 AM

OVER 39: ENG 113-2 (Bairstow 39 Root 60)

TV pictures showing debutant Dan Lawrence with his pads on. Will have been a nervous wait for him but, in fairness, neither batsman has looked in too much danger, Root's reviewed LBW aside. Bit of medium pace to end the day. England will just want to get to stumps here. Just a single off the returning Fernando's fifth over.

11:46 AM

OVER 38: ENG 112-2 (Bairstow 39 Root 59)

Root accumulating nicely here with another five runs off that over.

11:42 AM

OVER 37: ENG 107-2 (Bairstow 39 Root 54)

Fair to say Bairstow is loving the sweep for a single, two or a boundary. He sweeps out to deep square leg here and the fielder seemingly has to collect it through a whole lot of crows who have been meandering around the outfield all day. Imagine: Hitchock's The Birds but in the confines of a cricket field.

11:38 AM

OVER 36: ENG 104-2 (Bairstow 38 Root 53)

Embuldeniya gets one to tear a chunk off the top and rip past the outside edge. Concerning and encouraging for England in equal measure, if you get what I mean. They only trail by 31 here. Embuldeniya still looks the most likely here, to add to his two 2-43 off 15.3 overs. It's turning a bit. Bairstow sweeps hard and square for single.

11:33 AM

OVER 35: ENG 103-2 (Bairstow 37 Root 52)

Bairstow continues his tendency for the paddle sweep and this time he gets a hard-run two for his efforts. England's run rate at 2.9 now. Another single turned through the leg side brings up England's 100 off 34.2 overs. For the loss of two wickets with your opponents only scoring 135 in their first innings that's a good performance.

It's all a little bit too easy for England at the moment. Probably half an hour to go in the day's play.

11:29 AM

Telegraph Sport columnist Sir Geoffrey offers his thoughts on SL batting

11:28 AM

OVER 34: ENG 97-2 (Bairstow 33 Root 50)

Another fine boundary for Root, this time through midwicket. Hasaranga drops short, Root plays a firm shot off the back foot through the covers for a couple. A single worked into the leg side next ball and that's Root's 50 up off 94 balls. England approaching the 100 mark, too. Bairstow shovels a single to square leg off the final ball of the over.

11:26 AM

OVER 33: ENG 89-2 (Bairstow 32 Root 43)

Just a single to Root off Embuldeniya's latest.

11:22 AM

OVER 32: ENG 88-2 (Bairstow 32 Root 42)

Hasaranga continues. An edgy push outside off brings Root another two and moves him into the 40s. Off 83, so it's a very typical Root innings.

11:18 AM

OVER 31: ENG 85-2 (Bairstow 32 Root 38)

Good target for England here would be 120-2 at close, with both these two on 50s. The way it's going it looks likely and I don't think they would need to take any risks to get there. Can all change in a ball or two, though. Two twos to Root and then a single. Very much the way things have been going in the last 10 overs. 41/0 from that point, in fact.

11:15 AM

OVER 30: ENG 80-2 (Bairstow 32 Root 34)

I think, sadly, it could be time to remove Hasaranga from the attack. Not too much threat at the moment, though he has thrown in a fair few googlies. He's 0-19 off his five, which means he has been 0-18 in his last four. A bit too easy.

11:12 AM

OVER 29: ENG 77-2 (Bairstow 30 Root 33)

15 overs left in the day, including this one which should take us up to about 12 noon. The clouds are drawing in now. Bairstow gets forward and punches down the ground in the air, just a metre or two past the bowler's extended right arm. He's been getting forward a lot, actually.

11:08 AM

OVER 28: ENG 74-2 (Bairstow 28 Root 32)

Hasaranga is back and I am "here for it". Bairstow plays a late deflection through backward point as the bowler strays fractionally short. Four runs. Nice and precise. This passage of play here is the reason why being bowled out for 130-odd half-way through the first day of is not advisable. SL took two early wickets but a single 50 partnership and England are within 62 runs of their total. No room for this sort of thing. Hasaranga dropping just a bit short too often now and being milked.

11:03 AM

OVER 27: ENG 68-2 (Bairstow 23 Root 31)

Four for Root through square leg! They haven't been all that frequent in this innings, but this partnership is approaching 50. Overall run rate at 2.48 which is not too shabby. Root cuts forward of square for two, bringing up the 50 partnership from 110 balls and moving himself into the 30s.

10:57 AM

OVER 26: ENG 62-2 (Bairstow 23 Root 25)

Bairstow keeps sweeping, keeps keeps sweeping. He survives a half-decent LBW shout from Perera. It's working at the moment and isn't being played with too much risk.

10:54 AM

OVER 25: ENG 59-2 (Bairstow 23 Root 23)

Embuldeniya races through his over. England resisting the twin spin attack at the moment and looking... okayish.

10:50 AM

OVER 24: ENG 56-2 (Bairstow 20 Root 22)

Bairstow gets down on one knee and sweeps for a single. Partnership building now. 36 from 80-odd. It's just what England needed. Bairstow getting a bit more forceful with his sweep shots now as he moves onto 20. Root happier to push, which he does in taking a single to long on.

10:47 AM

OVER 23: ENG 52-2 (Bairstow 18 Root 20)

England trail by 83... their first scare for a while with that appeal. Embuleniya still the danger man.

10:44 AM

SL think they have a wicket...

Is that out? Big appeal! Umpire says yes! Embuleniya has his third. Or does he?

Root reviews...

Doesn't look like he hit it, playing to leg. It hit quite high up on his pads, maybe even above them. But he's quite far back. Think this could be umpire's call on whether it is hitting. No... wickets missing! Root survives, going over the top! Decision overturned.

Hawkeye screengrab of Root's LBW decision being overturned - Sky Sports Cricket
Hawkeye screengrab of Root's LBW decision being overturned - Sky Sports Cricket

10:42 AM

OVER 22: ENG 50-2 (Bairstow 18 Root 18)

Perera also ripe for milking. At least more so. Three singles in the middle of the over bring up England's 50. It's been solid and safe from these two.

10:40 AM

OVER 21: ENG 47-2 (Bairstow 17 Root 16)

Hasaranga being quite easily milked here, with five runs off his first four deliveries. Field is fairly spread, though, so what do you expect? He has the air of the guy who rocks up to the third XI game, scores 44 off 30 batting at eight and then takes 4-12 after coming on in the 20th over after you've reached 120-1. In other words, a ringer. I like it, though. Has the look of a man who knows just how good he is. His batting performance earlier on was a shot a ball, too.

10:35 AM

Read: Tim Wigmore on Stuart Broad

Story of Stuart Broad's reinvention for England extends to finding new answers in Asia

But the story of Broad’s past two years has been of reinvention. Through embracing a fuller length and targeting the stumps more, he has discovered the best form of his career aged 34: 2020 brought 38 wickets at under 15 apiece. The first Test in Galle allowed Broad the chance to show that his reinvention extended to finding new answers in Asia too.

Read the full piece from Tim here.

10:34 AM

OVER 20: ENG 41-2 (Bairstow 15 Root 12)

Blink and you'll miss these Perera overs. I nearly did. It's another solid maiden without too much threat to the batters.

10:32 AM

OVER 19: ENG 41-2 (Bairstow 15 Root 12)

Hasaranga returns for his second over. And not before time. He only went for 0-1, strange for him to take a break so soon. He drops a bit short a couple of times in this over, allowing singles on the off side. Nothing too much to worry about for SL but easy to hit for England, though. Not much pace in the pitch for him.

Lovely ground, this. Shame the complete lack of fans...

A general view of the Galle ground - Sky Sports Cricket
A general view of the Galle ground - Sky Sports Cricket

10:28 AM

OVER 18: ENG 38-2 (Bairstow 14 Root 10)

Perera races through another over, and it's a tidy maiden. Sri Lanka's first innings lead/England's current deficit is 97 runs.

10:26 AM

OVER 17: ENG 38-2 (Bairstow 14 Root 10)

Bairstow paddles one around the corner and gets two for it. Run rate at a tad over two now with just under 27 overs remaining in the day. A harder, more forward sweep shot gets Bairstow another single. Root does the same but finds the gap and gets four four it. Lovely shot that disperses the murder of crows in the outfield. You love to see it.

10:22 AM

OVER 16: ENG 31-2 (Bairstow 11 Root 6)

Perera continues, so Hasaranga just had that solitary over. Thought he looked okay, actually. Root goes back, plays a defensive shot and it is not too far from the stumps after it cannoned off his boot...

10:19 AM

OVER 15: ENG 29-2 (Bairstow 10 Root 5)

Embuldeniya has a big shout for LBW against a sweeping Bairstow but the umpire, rightly, says no. SL do not review, wisely. Another maiden and that's 2-15 for Embuldinya now. Very tidy indeed.

10:17 AM

OVER 14: ENG 29-2 (Bairstow 10 Root 5)

If there's one thing you're sure of with Bairstow at the crease – and to a lesser extent Root – that it's quick running between the wickets. Two singles off this over and Bairstow is into double figures.

10:10 AM

OVER 13: ENG 27-2 (Bairstow 9 Root 4)

Embuldeniya has bowled beautifully here. Bairstow cuts him, in the air, and runs three. Never in danger of being caught by anyone. Embuldeniya has a very uneventful delivery stride. If you can even call it a stride and not a shuffle. Not much momentum, a bit like the left-arm occasionals you might see from your club number four. A quick single moves Bairstow to nine and that's drinks.

10:06 AM

OVER 12: ENG 21-2 (Bairstow 4 Root 3)

Dilruwan Perera replaces Hasaranga, who had just the one over. It's a tidy one, with just a single off it, scored by Bairstow.

10:03 AM

Keep it in the locker, lads

10:02 AM

OVER 11: ENG 20-2 (Bairstow 2 Root 3)

This is a tricky and sticky period that England are going through here. The runs have dried up a little now, though. Just two to Root off that over.

09:59 AM

OVER 10: ENG 18-2 (Bairstow 2 Root 1)

Wanindu Hasaranga, who took a fine catch to dismiss Crawley, is on to bowl with his leg breaks. Dangerous period for England, here. Root pushes through the covers safely to get off the mark with a single. A bit of spin there, too.

09:56 AM

OVER 9: ENG 17-2 (Bairstow 2 Root 0)

Embuldeniya nearly has a third. Bairstow goes forward to one, it takes the edge but it's short of slip. Great over.

09:54 AM

WICKET! Crawley b Embuldeniya 9 c Hasaranga

What on earth is this? This is not the shot to play? No real pressure being built up but Crawley decides to loft the left-arm spinner over the top. He doesn't get it all and it's more of a lob wedge than an eight iron. He doesn't get the distance and is caught at mid off. Poor shot selection.

FOW 17-2

09:50 AM

OVER 8: ENG 16-1 (Crawley 9 Bairstow 2)

Doesn't look like Bairstow, usually whippet-quick between the wickets, is suffering too many negative effects from being whacked on the left foot with a sweep shot earlier today. He nearly plays out a maiden before stealing a single, and the strike, off the sixth ball with a leg-side push.

09:46 AM

OVER 7: ENG 15-1 (Crawley 9 Bairstow 1)

Bairstow gets off the mark with a mistimed sweep off Embuldeniya, from which he scores a single. That's the only run off the over.

09:43 AM

OVER 6: ENG 14-1 (Crawley 9 Bairstow 0)

Crawley gets England's first boundary with a flick off the pads. Middled it, superbly timed. What's a good score for England here? Well, any first innings lead over 100 is usually pretty handy. 275 is hardly gigantic but would be a 140 lead. We'll have to see how this session goes, of course. More important to not lose wickets than score runs in this session, I'd say. Bairstow yet to score off his four balls.

09:40 AM

OVER 5: ENG 10-1 (Crawley 5 Bairstow 0)

Jonny Bairstow, over to you.

09:34 AM

WICKET! Sibley b Embuldeniya c Thirimanne 4 (15)

They think they have Sibley caught at slip... Umpire says not out. They review. First impression seems like he has edged onto his pad and then to slip. But was it a definite edge? Yes, it was... and it was a clean catch, too.

That'll be overturned then, for certain. Indeed, it is in and England are one down.

Ultra edge of Sibley's dismissal - Sky Sports Cricket
Ultra edge of Sibley's dismissal - Sky Sports Cricket

FOW 10/1

09:34 AM

How well did Bess bowl for his five wickets?

09:33 AM

OVER 4: ENG 10-0 (Crawley 5 Sibley 4)

Looks like Fernando is targeting Crawley's (and Sibley's) pads, early on. Strays onto leg stump, though, and he picks up a single. The ones and twos have been fairly easy for England to pick up so far and Sibley gets another out to square leg. Not rapid by Fernando here by any means, mid-80s.

09:28 AM

OVER 3: ENG 8-0 (Crawley 4 Sibley 3)

Embuldeniya races through his second over and it's a fairly tidy maiden, with Sibley not really interested in playing shots.

09:26 AM

OVER 2: ENG 8-0 (Crawley 4 Sibley 3)

Confusion from England! Asitha Fernando's first ball brings a bit shout for LBW on Sibley (it looked like it was going down leg but would have been umpire's call, replays show), Crawley tries a single and ends up at the same end, mere yards from Sibley ast the striker's end... Sibley sends him back and he makes it in but only just. Calm... calm... lads.

Sibley off the mark with a two of his own and then gets another with a single backward of square on the leg side.

09:21 AM

OVER 1: ENG 5-0 (Crawley 4 Sibley 0)

Crawley off the mark to the left-arm spin of Embuldeniya who drops one a bit short – he pushes out to midwicket for two. He gets another two on the off side and England end the over without loss and with five from it.

09:18 AM

Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley out to open for England

Will be a long final session, where can England end the day?

09:14 AM

They've taken tea by the way

So we'll be ready to get going in another five minutes or so.

09:00 AM

END OF INNINGS: SL 135 all out

Broad and Bess with eight of the wickets together, Leach with one and a run-out and Sri Lanka have surrendered quite cheaply here in the first innings. Three ducks there and highest score was 28. I mean, so many poor shots and a couple of bits of bad luck. That's a really, really poor effort from Sri Lanka, though.

08:59 AM

WICKET! Hasaranga b Bess 19

Well, well, well. It's all over in one ball. Bess has five! It's a gigantic – and I mean gigantic – attempted reverse sweep but he misses by a mile and is clean bowled. 5-30 for Bess. Not the greatest ever five-fer but they all count...

SL 135ao

08:57 AM

OVER 46: SL 135/9 (Hasaranga 19 Fernando 0)

Leach beats the outside edge with his final ball of the over and Sri Lanka and Hasaranga live to fight another over. 1-50 for the Somerset spinner so far. Has bowled well on his return.

08:53 AM

Review for run-out...

Morning. Have been watching the last hour in near slack-jawed astonishment. A manic passage of play. Anyway, Jack Leach to continue and he nearly has a second as Hasaranga slashes at one outside off. Root throws out his right arm at slip but can't get there.

He certainly isn't going to die wondering... he slashes another at cover and tries two, England think they have a run-out... it's close but I don't think they do.

Oh, on second look from another angle Hasaranga's bat is in the air and that now looks out.

The third umpire continues looking at when the wickets were broken and if the bat was bouncing or grounded and he cannot be 100 per cent sure so he says not out.

08:51 AM

OVER 45: SL 130/9 (Hasaranga 10 Fernando 0)

Bess is up for a five-for against the No11 who blocks the first five, refusing to be gulled by the flight. And he sees out the last, too,

That's me done for the day. Luke Slater will take you through to the end.

08:49 AM

OVER 44: SL 130/9 (Hasaranga 10 Fernando 0)

Hasaranha, a stroke-making No8, charges Leach and lofts a cover drive for four. Plenty of bottom hand but it was effective. The next time he goes for the slog, though, he takes out his partner.

08:48 AM


Embuldeniya run out 0 It never rains. Unlucky way to get out but they all count and that was sharp from Leach who is not the most agile. FOW 130/9

08:47 AM

Umpire review for run out

Batsman backing up as Leach deflected a drive on to the non-striker's stumps.

08:44 AM

OVER 43: SL 126/8 (Hasaranga 10 Embuldeniya 0)

Bairstow had shin pads on but copped a heavy blow on the unguarded ankle and requires some magic spray. In fact it doesn't do the trick and he has to limp off for further treatment. So Olly Stone is on to witness Bess's fourth wicket. England have bowled well and Bess has been patchy but his fourth wicket was his best, doing the batsman with drift, dip and turn.

Sri Lanka look so shellshocked England may well have won the series by tea on day one.

08:42 AM


Dilruwan b Bess 0 Beats him on the outside edge to clean bowl him as Dilruwan Perera plays a madcap expansive drive to only his second ball. FOW 126/8

08:38 AM


Shanaka c Buttler b Bess 23 Slog sweep into Bairstow's ankle at short leg as he took evasive action and from there it seemed to hit his bottom and pop up to Buttler. Jammy wicket if painful for for YJB who receives no recognition in the scorebook. FOW 126/7

08:36 AM


Shanaka c Buttler b Bess 23

Umpire review for fair catch.

08:35 AM

OVER 42: SL 126/6 (Shanaka 23 Hasaranga 10)

After soaking up three dot balls, Shanaka slog sweeps Leach hard in front of square for four, Root immediately takes a man out of the ring of close fielders and sends him down to the midwicket boundary. Shanaka rotates the strike by coming down the pitch with a clever flick through midwicket.

08:30 AM

OVER 41: SL 121/6 (Shanaka 18 Hasaranga 10)

A bit of milking underway? Two singles but then Hasaranga lashes an overpitched ball on off stump through extra cover for four. Nice stroke. There is turn out there for him but he is bowling too full and Hasaranga takes him on a gain, chipping two over mid-on with a clothy drive.

08:27 AM

OVER 40: SL 113/6 (Shanaka 17 Hasaranga 3)

Hasaranga props forward to push a single into the offside and Shanaka chops the shorter ball behind point for two. Kumar Sangakkara says: 'Sri Lanka haven't shown any patience. Hard hands on a slow wicket.' He sounds close to despair though praises England's discipline.

08:23 AM

OVER 39: SL 110/6 (Shanaka 15 Hasaranga2)

Well, well, well. Perhaps he tried to hit it too hard as he lost his balance while waiting for it to bounce up and then trying to thrash it. Hasaranga and Shanaka work three singles before Shanaka tucked two off his hip past leg slip. Looked like a chance but was perhaps just wide of his reach as he dived to his left?

08:19 AM


Dickwella c Sibley b Bess 12 A wicket for the drinks break off an absolute pie. A genuine long hop slapped to point by the left-hander. Bess looks suitably bashful for his Bothamesque golden arm triumph. FOW 105/6

08:15 AM

OVER 38: SL 105/5 (Dickwella 12 Shanaka 12)

On come the drinks after Leach's 13th over from which Dickwella lapped two down to fine leg with the turn and slaps a full toss for a single.

08:10 AM

OVER 37: SL 102/5 (Dickwella 9 Shanaka 12)

Sibkley is still in at fly slip for Dickwella but Wood goes for the bluff with a full ball that the left-hander pushes for three between cover and mid-off. That's the hundred up. Fierce off-stump bouncer to Shanaka. He shapes to pull then aborts the mission halfway through the pirouette, dropping his hands and sniffing the leather instead.

08:06 AM

OVER 36: SL 97/5 (Dickwella 5 Shanaka 11)

Shanaka sweeps Leach hard. England will welcome that even though it cost them four runs it was in the air for a while as it sailed over square leg.

08:04 AM

OVER 35: SL 93/5 (Dickwella 5 Shanaka 7)

Wood tries to draw the injudicious stroke from Dickwella with some short stuff and he almost hits the glove as he has the left-hander hotfooting and jerking out of the line as it whizzed past his hooter. Root stations a short third man/fly slip because there was a sign that Dickwella's hands moved towards the ball before hastily withdrawing, tempted to give a ramp a go. Maiden for Wood who has figures of 5-1-16-0. He'll probably get one more and then Bess, if Dickwella stays in, will have a go at the left-hander.

07:58 AM

OVER 34: SL 93/5 (Dickwella 5 Shanaka 7)

Close! Shanaka skips on to the dance floor to drive over mid-on and only just clears Wood. Leach keeps him honest with the other five balls but at five down it was such an unnecessary risk.

07:56 AM

OVER 33: SL 89/5 (Dickwella 5 Shanaka 3)

Mark Wood returns after his blistering opening spell on this deceased pitch. Back up over 90mph from the start, Dickwella gleans a single off an edge, Shanaka whips one through midwicket and Dickwella, the elegant left-hander, exploits a straight ball by twisting it fine off his toes for four, using the pace to impart only a whisper of bat.

07:52 AM

OVER 32: SL 83/5 (Dickwella 0 Shanaka 2)

And a maiden, too, for Leach to Shanaka.

Apologies for short entries, Problem with the scoreboard has been flagged and hopefully resolved now.

07:51 AM

OVER 31: SL 83/5 (Dickwella 0 Shanaka 2)

Maiden for Broad to Dickwella who has figures of 9-3-20-3. Surely his last of the spell.

07:44 AM

OVER 30: SL 83/5 (Dickwella 0 Shanaka 2)

Brilliant from England and a good catch by Curran, diving forwards to snatch it an couple of inches above the ground. Shanaka opens the face and uses the turn away from the bat to glide two down to third man.

07:38 AM


Chandimal c Curran b Leach 28 For the second time he slaps a drive to cover. Where Lawrence splilled it, Curran swallowed it. FOW 81/5

07:37 AM

OVER 29: SL 81/4 (Chandimal 28 Dickwella 0)

Chandimal uses the length to try a rare pull but shanks it off the toe down to deep square leg. They should have run two but both have a history of hamstring twangs so barely jog through for one. Had they trotted - which is all it would have needed - Mathews wouldn't have been on strike.

07:34 AM


Mathews c Root b Broad 27 Sharp catch at first slip as Mathews throws his hands at a big yahoo outside off. FOW 81/4

07:32 AM

OVER 28: SL 80/3 (Mathews 27 Chandimal 27)

Chandimal fails to execute a sweep and is struck on the ankle but no appeal is merited because the ball was sliding miles down the legside. He pushes a single through mid-off and then Leach alters his flight and darts one to stop Mathews' thoughts of charging him. Mathews blocks out the last three balls of the over.

Oh o!

07:27 AM

OVER 27: SL 79/3 (Mathews 27 Chandimal 26)

So close - Chandimal clips one round the corner from a back of a length delivery that flies past leg gully's left hand for a single. Broad raises his hands to his mouth but not in the manner of Trent Bridge 2015. A rueful smile and a shake of the head. Just the single off the over.

07:23 AM

OVER 26: SL 78/3 (Mathews 27 Chandimal 25)

Jack Leach, off whose bowling Lawrence dropped the catch, continues. Left-arm round. Good shape and some drift when he tosses it up, Chandimal whips two off his pads fine, then plays tip and run to cover. Mathews has had enough of blocking and advances on Leach, hammering a lofted drive high for six back over the bowler's head. That completes the first building block in the recovery from 28 for three.

07:18 AM

OVER 25: SL 69/3 (Mathews 21 Chandimal 22)

Stuart Broad, who bowled a five-over spell first thing, returns at the start of the second session. Mathews has brought his helmet from the boundary's edge so no further pointless delay. He has a short mid-off and a shortish extra on the adjacent pitch. Broad twice uses the leg-cutter in his first four balls -the first Mathews squirts gently short of gully, but thick-edges the second between first slip and fully for four which brings up 6.000 Test runs for the Ange.

06:40 AM

LUNCH: SL 65/3 (Mathews 17 Chandimal 22)

England's morning despite two dropped chances - Leach's off Broad which wasn't costly as they got their man in the next over and Lawrence's off Leach, giving Chandimal who averages almost 60 at Galle, which may prove so. Broad bowled cannily, the field placings were spot on, the famed 'plans'.

With the pitch turning so sharply so soon, 230 might be a decent first innings score. England, apart from the catching, have been magnificent but they will need to turn the screw.

06:34 AM

OVER 24: SL 65/3 (Mathews 17 Chandimal 22)

What a delivery from Leach. The pitch is going to be a bunsen and already Leach is using it expertly in these early hours. He tosses one up that dips alarmingly, turns and fizzes over off stump, beating Chandimal, whose mouth was agape, comprehensively.

That'll be lunch.

06:31 AM

OVER 23: SL 62/3 (Mathews 14 Chandimal 22)

More of a dolly than a sitter, really. I once played for a team that called them a 'goose' as in 'he's dropped a goose' but I always thought the dropee was the goose rather than the drop itself. Sir Geoffrey, I think, refers to them as 'cuckoos'. Just the single off the over, Mathews working it with the turn for a single.

Sri Lanka tours are not Sri lanka tours without Tony Greig shilling for the tourist board.

06:26 AM

OVER 22: SL 61/3 (Mathews 13 Chandimal 22)

Good spell this from Leach who obviously looks far more threatening than Bess to the right-handers. And he should have had a first wicket in his comeback Test when Chandimal slaps a drive, slicing it, to extra cover and the debutant Dan Lawrence drops a thigh-high sitter.

06:23 AM

OVER 21: SL 51/3 (Mathews 13 Chandimal 22)

Leach, in his first over, got one to burst through the surface in a puff of dust and now Bess, from the same end, does the same. Doesn't stop Chandimal driving straight for three. Mathews drives through mid-on for a single and Chandimal chisels out a very full ball through point for a single. Over-adjusting, Bess drags the last ball down and Mathews swivels to pull, thinking it had four all over it. But Leach dives at backwards square to prevent any damage.

06:20 AM

OVER 20: SL 56/3 (Mathews 12 Chandimal 18)

Leach oversteps and Mathews drives a single off the no-ball through mid-on. A leg-bye and an off-driven single complete the over.

06:17 AM

OVER 19: SL 52/3 (Mathews 11 Chandimal 17)

No offside trap for Bess, turning it into the right-handers. He has a slip, leg slip and short leg. Mathews blocks the first four with his big SS, then flicks one round the corner for a single. Chandimal uses the turn, too, to tap the off-break between short leg and leg slip for one at the end of the over to nick the strike.

06:12 AM

OVER 18: SL 50/3 (Mathews 10 Chandimal 16)

Mathews, batting in his cap, pushes a single through the offside off Leach. England have a short cover and short point for Chandinal who prevent a couple of singles as they try to test his patience. Leach gets another to grip and rip, taking the outside third of Chandimal's bat as he plops it wide of the second slip.

06:09 AM

OVER 17: SL 49/3 (Mathews 9 Chandimal 16)

Chandimal, who averages 57 and has scored three centuries at Galle, plays a glorious stroke off Bess, dancing down the ground to cream a four through mid-off followed by a more routine cover drive for two.

06:05 AM

OVER 16: SL 43/3 (Mathews 9 Chandimal 10)

Leach returns with two slips to the right-handers. Chandimal flicks two through midwicket and plays a handsome if measured square drive for a single. Leach is giving it every chance by tossing the ball up frequently but no sharp dip as yet.

06:02 AM

OVER 15: SL 40/3 (Mathews 9 Chandimal 7)

Joe Root has gone all MS Dhoni, taking Leach off after his one-over spell and bringing back Bess for a second. Michael Atherton posits that Bess might have left the field at the end of his wicket-maiden which might explain it.

Chandimal slaps two in front of square off a Bess drag down and pulls a single off another short ball.

05:58 AM

OVER 14: SL 37/3 (Mathews 9 Chandimal 4)

Wood for one more burst. Mathews defends the short ball anxiously but safely, getting on top to drop it into the infield, then tucks the next off his ribs for a single.

Wood hits the deck in his followthrough as he has Chandimal hopping around to defend until he gets away with a single popped round the corner. Every ball is 90mph plus but no reward as yet for his effort.

05:54 AM

OVER 13: SL 35/3 (Mathews 8 Chandimal 3)

Bess, who began with a wicket-maiden, is relieved immediately and Jack Leach comes on. Bess, presumably, will come on for Wood after one more over. The first ball is short and Mathews slaps a cut for a single. Chandimal opens the face to push two through point. Big revolutions on the ball from over the wicket and that delivery seemed to bite in the pitch a touch.

Leach comes round and tosses it up. Chandimal pushes a single through cover, Mathews cuts for one more and Leach ends with a victory of sorts that spits and leaps past Chandimal's edge. Costly but promising.

05:48 AM

OVER 12: SL 30/3 (Mathews 6 Chandimal 0)

Mathews tucks two off his hip from Wood's short ball. The commentators have been advising him to play the short ball on this pitch, which is dead enough to tame Wood.

Wood cranks it up to 91 mph and pitches up, straining for some swing and Mathews bunts it through cover. Lack of followthrough means it won't reach the rope but they run three.

Despite the moribund pitch, Wood is steaming in, reaching 93mph and Chandimal lets it climb past his chest through to Buttler.

05:43 AM

OVER 11: SL 25/3 (Mathews 1 Chandimal 0)

Sorry - came off the glove not the top edge. Wicket, a gift, for Bess with his second ball. He is giving it a rip and seems to bowling a couple of clicks quicker than last summer. Chandimal defends the last four deliveries. What a morning for England, and efficient too, given the paucity of deliveries.

05:38 AM


Perera c Root b Bess 20 Caught at first slip on the reverse sweep off a top edge that floated down Root's throat. Daft shot in this situation. FOW 25/3

05:38 AM

OVER 10: SL 25/2 (Perera 20 Mathews 1)

Wood comes over the wicket to Mathews, pitches it up and Big Ange flicks it off his toes through Bairstow for a single, Perera drives to midwicket for a single.

Time for another delay when Wood breaks Mathews' bat with a short ball that shatters the splice and jars his elbow. Mathews turns his back on the last delivery, a short ball, and wears it as he tried to avoid it. He doesn't fancy the pull shot yet.

Fifty-five balls in the first 60 minutes' play. No player to blame, only whoever set up the TV screen at one end.

05:30 AM

OVER 9.1: SL 23/2 (Perera 19 Mathews 0)

Mark Wood, England's sole World Cup-winner in this attack, comes on, round the wicket to Perera who turns a back of a length ball through deep backward square for a single. Root calls for the helmet and sticks Bairstow at short leg. Tit for tat ... Mathews summons the chest pad and the umpires, mindful of tjis morning's numerous delays so far, call for drinks.

05:27 AM

OVER 9: SL 22/2 (Perera 18 Mathews 0)

Apologies for the lack of live photographs. Don't know if there are any snappers out there but nothing has turned up from the agencies at this end so far. There are very few print journalists because it would be impossible to cover this series and India in biobubble conditions.

Mathews defends Broad stoutly. In this heat it should be Broad's final over in this spell and Mathews seems him off with a couple of judicious leaves and blocks. He will have a breather now with figures of 5-2-14-2.

05:23 AM

OVER 8: SL 22/2 (Perera 18 Mathews 0)

Touch of the Dasher Denning from Perera who thrashes a drive off the toe of the bat just over mid-off for two. He has a nibble at one angled across him but doesn't hit it then plays his best shot of the morning, punching a checked cover drive for two.

Curran bangs one in and Perera rocks back to pull it for two more.

05:17 AM

OVER 7: SL 16/2 (Perera 12 Mathews 0)

More sight screen delay. Root stations Bairstow on the drive, not quite a silly mid-off but hardly sensible either, about 15 yards from the bat. It's only for Perera who whips a single off his pads first ball and the experiment ends for now as Bairstow is moved to leg gully for Thirimanne. Sensational decision by Broad and Root as it works after two balls.

In comes Mendis at three, on the back of three ducks in South Africa. Make that four eggs in a row. Vorsprung durch technik!

Clever bowling from Broad who rewards himself for the cutter with a big glug of the pink drink.

05:14 AM


Mendis c Buttler b Broad 0 Nicks off pushing forward as Broad rolls his fingers across the seam. Two-ball duck. FOW 16/2

05:10 AM


Thirimanne c Bairstow b Broad 4 Great catch at leg gully as Thirimanne pops it off the face round the corner and YJB takes it diving to his right, perfectly placed by bowler and captain. FOW 16/1

05:07 AM

OVER 6: SL 15/0 (Thirimanne 4, Perera 11)

Curran tries a bouncer to Thirimanne which hardly gets up but the opener ducks anyway. Sound defence so far. No help through the air or off the pitch. Let's see is if turns soon. Thirimanne defends the rest chastely. Maiden for Curran, his second in three overs.

05:05 AM

OVER 5: SL 15/0 (Thirimanne 4, Perera 11)

Kusal is ticking and wants to get after Broad. Jammily he gets away with an ill-advised drive that he bails out of halfway through his swing, which saved him being caught at mid-off. Was he surprised by the bounce. Broad goes fuller but wider and Perera drills it through the covers for four. Nice shot from a bit of a pie.

Leach loses his bearings at deep fine leg, perhaps not seeing the ball until late, and gets nowhere near a catching opportunity he should have been under when Perera top-edges a pull. They run two and Broad drops to his haunches and flashes Leach a Medusa stare. England's left-armer is turned to stone (which would arguably be more mobile),

04:59 AM

OVER 4: SL 9/0 (Thirimanne 4, Perera 5)

There's a problem with the screen at one end which will not at the moment flick back to white when England are bowling from that end. Finally they bring out a big white sheet and cover it, rather like the furniture in a stately home.

The fourth over finally starts 25 minutes into the day. Thirimanne chisels a full ball off an inside edge down to fine leg for two then gets some seam movement off the pitch to draw a false shot, Thirimanne shovelling it to mid-on. Curran is hiding the ball with his right hand as he runs in but there's no swing as he plugs away with a fuller length and straight line. Thirimanne defends.

I omitted the last, apologies. Here's our man, Nick, to redress that.

04:53 AM

Ridiculous scenes

Another long delay because of sightscreen issues. This is exasperating. Three overs in 21 mins.

04:49 AM

OVER 3: SL 7/0 (Thirimanne 2, Perera 5)

Thirimanne's away, popping a single off the thigh pad, tapping it round the corner for a single. The newly affianced Broad has his Platoon headband on.

Ball-tracking confirms that Curran's appeal would have been umpire's call had England reviewed it. Perera whips a single off his ankles fine. They're giving neither batsman any opportunity to free their arms so far and the line hasn't brought the three slips into play. Thirimanne uses another ball on leg and middle to flick it fine for a single.

Spoke too soon. Kusal Perera does get one in the sixth-stump slot which is very floaty and he thumps it over mid-off for four.

DRS - Sky Sports
DRS - Sky Sports

04:45 AM

OVER 2: SL 0/0 (Thirimanne 0, Perera 0)

Sam Curran will share the new ball. They're taking their time already. The first over took seven minutes. Curran starts with a tight line from over the wicket to the left-handed Perera, who defends jerkily. The left-armer then angles one across the batsman's pads. He has a nibble at it but doesn't connect as Buttler takes it down the legside. Broad and Curran obviously fancy these two for a strangle ... or they lost control of their line.

Perera defends a couple from back of a length to mid-on and straight then is struck on the pad going back. England appeal vociferously but don't review when it's turned down. Looked close but perhaps sliding down or umpire's call. We wait for Hawk-Eye to confirm to us, not themm.

04:38 AM

OVER 1: SL 0/0 (Thirimanne 0, Perera 0)

Stuart Board opens the bowling, coming round the wicket to the left-handed Thirimanne and sprays the first ball down the legside. The outfield is typically mottled and England are wearing black armbands in tribute to the late John Edrich and Robin Jackman. Long delay between the first and second deliveries, no explanation why.

Broad alters his line to middle and Thirimanne punches the ball to midwicket and sets off but is sent back, wisely as Mark Wood throws down the stumps. The opener defends the next couple. Broad is bowling a full length and looking for swing. Touch of jag, too.


04:32 AM

Sri Lanka's form

Tim Wigmore on the roots of a long decline: While England suffer from an unrelenting schedule, Sri Lanka in Test cricket have the opposite problem: too little cricket.

But they did beat New Zealand in their last Test at Galle, Dananjaya taking five wickets in the first innings, Embuldeniya four in the second in the six-wicket victory. In England's favour, though, is the identity of their century-maker in that Test, Dimuth Karunaratne, who also scored a century at the Wanderers less than a fortnight ago.

04:14 AM

Mark Butcher

is Johnny on the spot in Galle for Sky. Messrs Ward, Atherton, Hussain and Key are in Isleworth, Bumble is in his Dales redoubt - Darrowby, Hotton, somewhere like that.

04:10 AM

Dan Lawrence makes his England debut

And will forever be No 697.

Sri Lanka Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dilruwan Perera, Lasith Embuldeniya, Asitha Fernando.

England: Zak Crawley, Dom Sibley, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root (capt), Dan Lawrence, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood, Jack Leach.

Three spinners for Sri Lanka, two for England.

04:05 AM

Sri Lanka

Have won the toss and will bat first.

04:05 AM

Good morning

And welcome to cricket, lovely cricket. It's rainy, bleak and intermittently terrifying in London but in beautiful Galle, where the sky is sapphire blue, the field emerald green and the fort picture postcard perfect, the greatest game offers some relief.

First things first Sri Lanka's captain, Dimuth Karunaratne has been hurt in practice and is on his way to hospital with a possible broken thumb., Dinesh Chandimal will be in charge.

The PA preview focuses on England captain Joe Root and his assessment that Dom Bess will prove he can be a leading man in Test cricket as well as a support act.

This Test in Sri Lanka will be Bess' 11th Test appearance but his first on the sub-continent, where conditions typically allow for slow bowlers to take centre stage.

Bess has had to settle for a more low-key role for the majority of his international cricket thus far, failing to bowl an over in four of his 15 innings in the field and often being used to hold down an end for the seamers rather than attack in his own right.

But Root has not forgotten the 23-year-old's career-best haul of five for 51, when he finally found helpful conditions against South Africa last winter, and is expecting him to shine again.

"We know Dom has the ability and skills if it does start spinning quite quickly to take advantage of that. It's a really good opportunity for him to show what he can do in these conditions," Root said.

"I think the fact that he's experienced big spinning conditions already at home in Somerset colours will hold him in really good stead and he also had success in Port Elizabeth, where it did spin quite drastically.

"As someone right at the start of his career, he's still learning that and that's exciting to see that he's had success already, and coming into these conditions where they might be slightly more in his favour, he could potentially really make a mark on this tour."

England are also expecting a final briefing before taking the field to remind them of how much they should interact in the heat of the game, with footballers back home increasingly under the microscope for celebrating in close proximity despite the spread of coronavirus.

Elbow touches and fist bumps have been encouraged in cricket since the outbreak of the pandemic and Root suggested they would be attempting to show restraint again in the coming weeks.

"I'm sure the medical staff will make sure that the protocols are kept in place and that if there is anything that needs to be discussed before the game starts, then we are made very well aware of it," he said.

"We'll do as best we can to make sure we adhere to that."