Sri Lanka v England: Dom Bess takes 5-30 as tourists take charge in Galle

England's Dom Bess celebrates with Dom Sibley after taking a wicket against Sri Lanka
Dom Bess’ (centre) previous five-wicket haul came against South Africa in Port Elizabeth in January 2020
First Test, Galle (day one)
Sri Lanka 135: Bess 5-30, Broad 3-20
England 127-2: Root 66*, Bairstow 47*
England trail by 8 runs

Spinner Dom Bess took 5-30 as a woeful Sri Lanka batting display left England in control after the opening day of the first Test in Galle.

The hosts were bowled out for 135 in only 46.1 overs despite winning the toss on a pitch that offered only a little spin.

England closed on 127-2, with Joe Root unbeaten on 66, Jonny Bairstow 47 not out and their third-wicket stand worth 110.

Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley fell to left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya for four and nine respectively.

Sri Lanka’s total was the lowest in a first innings in a Galle Test, and was a pitiful exhibition of indiscipline and poor strokes which demonstrated a clear lack of understanding of how to build a Test innings.

England, who made five changes from their previous Test in August, were disciplined with the ball and tidy in the field, aside from a drop from debutant Dan Lawrence, with Stuart Broad superb in taking 3-20.

The second day starts at 04:30 GMT on Friday.

Sloppy Sri Lanka gift England early advantage

With England’s most recent Test being played five months ago, and Sri Lanka playing in South Africa over Christmas and the new year, there was concern that the tourists would not be as prepared as the hosts.

Those fears soon disappeared.

Broad, who had Lahiru Thirimanne caught at leg slip and Kusal Mendis, who has now made a duck in four successive Test innings, caught behind in the seventh over, showcased his experience and guile by turning to off-cutters almost immediately.

Bess, playing his 11th Test, may have taken his second five-wicket haul in Tests but struggled to find a consistent line and length.

Kusal Perera reverse swept Bess’ second ball to Root at slip, while Niroshan Dickwella slapped a long hop to Sibley at point to fall for 12.

After getting Dasun Shanaka in fortunate circumstances as a sweep rebounded off Bairstow at short leg into wicketkeeper Jos Buttler’s hands, Bess produced a beautifully flighted delivery to bowl Dilruwan Perera between bat and pad for a duck.

He rounded off the innings by bowling the reverse-sweeping Wanindu Hasaranga for 19 as the hosts lost their last five wickets for 30 runs.

Stand-in captain Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews offered some fight with a stand of 56 for the fourth wicket, the former becoming the 12th Sri Lankan to reach 4,000 Tests runs and Mathews the fifth to 6,000.

However, both fell tamely in the space of three balls as Broad – who had taken three wickets in 80 overs in Sri Lanka before this match – had Mathews slashing to slip, before Chandimal looped a simple catch to Sam Curran at cover to give Jack Leach his first Test wicket since November 2019.

More to follow.

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