ben foakes
Ben Foakes (AFP Photo)

Ben Foakes led England’s rearguard in the second session’s play taking them closer to the 200-run mark and himself one short of a maiden half-century when tea-break was taken on Day 1 of their first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle.

Foakes was unbeaten on 49 and was being ably supported by allrounder Sam Curran who once again put on his solid batting on display with 14 not out off 47 with England 199/6 in 59 overs.

Resuming at 111/5 after the lunch-break, Jos Buttler and Foakes resisted the Lankan bowlers for the first hour of play. Buttler looked solid for his 35 off 46 as the visitors crossed the 150-run mark.

But Dilruwan Perera returned for a fresh spell, fired in a quicker one and Buttler edged it to be out caught behind, leaving England at 164/6. But Curran continued to impress low down the order to complement the efforts of Foakes as the duo successfully negotiated the spinners.

Rangana Herath became the third bowler in Test history to claim 100 wickets at a single venue as England were left struggling at 111/5 when lunch-break was taken after they opted to bat on Tuesday.

The record came after England were left stunned by pacer Suranga Lakmal’s twin blows in consecutive deliveries. He first removed debutant Rory Burns (9) and then saw the back of No. 3 Moeen Ali for a golden duck leaving them 10/2 inside three overs.

The record came after England were left stunned by pacer Suranga Lakmal’s twin blows in consecutive deliveries. He first removed debutant Rory Burns (9) and then saw the back of No. 3 Moeen Ali for a golden duck leaving them 10/2 inside three overs.

Perera then hurt England with a double-strike of his own with the scalps of Keaton Jennings (46) and Ben Stokes (7)

Herath was given a guard of honour by his teammates in his farewell Test after England began their new era post the retirement of Alastair Cook and gave debut to top-order batsman Burns and wicketkeeper-batsman Foakes.

Brief Scores: England 199/6 (Ben Foakes 49*; Dilruwan Perera 3/38) against Sri Lanka