Foakes ton pushes England into a position of dominance



Foakes composed a brilliant hundred on Test debut © AFP

Things unfolded rather rapidly in the first session of the second day as England took control of proceedings at Galle on Wednesday (November 7). Ben Foakes became the first England ‘keeper to score a century in Sri Lanka as the visitors posted 342. James Anderson and Sam Curran then sent back the Sri Lanka openers as the hosts ended the session on 42 for 4.

Foakes, after the opening day, had admitted he was looking forward to the six-month break from cricket before the England call-up arrived. Called in as cover, he quickly found himself in unknown territory when he walked out to bat in the opening session of the Test with England in all sorts of trouble. Foakes was tenacious as he got to his maiden ton on debut in the 97th over. England started the day on 321 for 8 but soon after lost Jack Leach to slip to 330 for 9. Foakes, with just Anderson left for company, decided to take the aggressive route and stuck two boundaries to get to his ton.

The fireworks, however, didn’t last long as was caught at cover off Suranga Lakmal. The knock, though, had given England a fighting score to dominate even when Dilruwan Perera’s five-wicket haul kept the visitors in check.

Dimuth Karunaratne started the Sri Lankan innings by threading the gap between third slip and gully on the first ball of the innings. That wasn’t the sign of things to come though. Anderson struck on the very next ball to send back the opener. The left-hander edged a delivery swinging away from him to the ‘keeper and, rather cryptically, went for the review. There was a clear spike on UltraEdge as England drew first blood.

It was then the turn of the impressive Curran to show why he’s rated so highly. From over the wicket, he kept taking the ball away from Kaushal Silva. The right-hander got sucked into the plan and didn’t expect the ball to come back in. When it did, in the fourth over, Silva wasn’t up to the task and was trapped plumb in front. Joe Root went to spin in the seventh over of the innings and Leach didn’t disappoint.

Dhananjaya de Silva and Kusal Mendis looked at ease with both pacers bowling and the latter struck some splendid drives to get going. But Leach managed to tie down Mendis and eventually dismissed him. In the 14th over, Leach had Mendis coming forward and got the ball to dip just a touch. There was enough turn on offer as the ball took the outside edge and landed in Ben Stokes’s safe hands at first slip. De Silva threw his wicket away with less than ten minutes before lunch as he missed a regulation delivery from Moeen Ali while trying to play the sweep and lost this off stump.

At 40 for 4, Sri Lanka were in all sorts of trouble. The question now is can they find a Foakes in their line-up to challenge the visitors.

Brief scores: England 342 (Ben Foakes 107; Dilruwan Perera 5-75) lead Sri Lanka 42/4 (Jack Leach 1-5) by 300 runs.

© Cricbuzz


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