England close in on victory in Sri Lanka

Carrie Guzman
November 10, 2018

Chasing an improbable 462 for victory, Sri Lanka were all out for 250 in the final session on a penultimate day with Angelo Mathews top-scoring for the hosts with a fighting 53.

Moeen claimed 4-71 as he and fellow spinners Leach and Adil Rashid shared eight of the 10 Sri Lankan wickets.

The 211-run victory, England's first Test win away from home in 13 matches, leaves Joe Root's men 1-0 up in the three-match series, with the second Test starting in Kandy on Wednesday.

"It's a hard day for us, because we know how much Rangana has done for the team and Sri Lanka cricket..."

The openers began the day well with a 51-run stand, rationing England to a solitary chance in the first hour - Dimuth Karunaratne uncharacteristically dropped by Ben Stokes at slip to deny Moeen.

"Jonny, fully fit, would have played this Test match, probably would have performed well, done well with the gloves and scored runs and we wouldn't be having this conversation", insisted Prior.

"Our batting was below-par during the game, you can't stay in the game (with this kind of batting)", Sri Lanka's captain Dinesh Chandimal said. An LBW appeal when Jennings was on 58 was turned down and Sri Lanka chose - erroneously it turned out - not to review.

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"Losing is never a good result for any team but hopefully the guys will come back strongly for the next two Tests", the 4o-year-old told Sky Sports moments after the loss.

England players celebrate their win in Galle on Friday.

And when Leach trapped Kaushal to make the breakthrough, the wickets started to fall with some regularity, his opening partner gone soon after to Moeen caught and bowled. His stay was nearly a short one, but he was reprieved on review, having been given out well caught down the leg side by Ben Foakes.

Tea provided Sri Lanka some respite, but Moeen laid down a marker with the dismissal of Niroshan Dickwella (16) in his first spell of the third session.

England had secured a first innings lead of 139 and on Thursday an unbeaten 146 by Keaton Jennings, his first century since a ton on his 2016 debut, allowed Root to declare at 322 for six.

His captaincy for the wicket of Kusal Mendis was good because after Mendis hit over the top a ball earlier, Root could have moved the fielder back - but he kept Moeen Ali up and he took the catch at mid-off. He was followed into the pavilion by Akila Dananjaya for 8. "After reducing them to 100 for five, if you had given only another 150 runs for the next five batters, we would have been still in the game at this stage".

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