SL vs Eng 1st Test: Root, Bairstow put visitors on top after Bess spins web over hosts

SL vs Eng 1st Test: Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow put England in a commanding position after the bowlers put on a stunning show to end Sri Lanka’s first innings on 135 on the opening day of the first Test here on Thursday.

At stumps, England’s score reads 127/2, with Root (66) and Bairstow (47) at the crease, trailing Sri Lanka by eight runs. England did not witness a good start to their innings as both openers, Zak Crawley (9) and Dom Sibley (4), were sent back to the pavilion cheaply by Lasith Embuldeniya. Bairstow and Root came out to bat and played brilliantly. Although the duo waited for the bad ball, they ensured England did not lose more wickets and finished the day in a dominating position.

Earlier, after opting to bat first, Sri Lanka got off to a poor start as England pacer Stuart Broad picked two wickets in the seventh over of the innings. Broad removed Lahiru Thirimanne (4) before dismissing Kusal Mendis for a duck. The fall of wickets did not stop as Dom Bess then picked the wicket of Kusal Perera (20), with Sri Lanka reeling at 25/3 after the completion of 11 overs.

Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal then provided Sri Lanka with some momentum and played cautiously. However, as soon as Sri Lanka looked to pick up some momentum, Broad struck again, sending Mathews (27) back to the pavilion in the 29th over.

In the very next over, Sam Curran took an excellent catch off Jack Leach’s delivery to remove Chandimal (28), and with this, half of the Sri Lankan side was back in the dugout with the team having scored just 81. Dasun Shanaka and Niroshan Dickwella then took the field and helped visitors get past the 100-run mark. However, soon after that, the visitors lost wickets in quick succession and ultimately their first innings was brought to an end in the 47th over.

Dom Bess scalped five wickets while Broad and Leach picked three and one wicket respectively.

Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 135 (Dinesh Chandimal 28, Angelo Mathews 27; Dom Bess 5/30); England 127/2 (Joe Root 66*, Jonny Bairstow 47*; Lasith Embuldeniya 2/55).