Five wickets for Bess as Sri Lanka dismissed for 135

Five wickets for Bess as Sri Lanka dismissed for 135

REUTERS: Dom Bess claimed five wickets as England dismissed hosts Sri Lanka for 135 at tea in an imposing start to the first test at Galle International Stadium on Thursday.

The spinner returned figures of 5-30 off just 10.1 overs with strong support from Stuart Broad (3-20) as the home side’s wayward batting saw them fail to take advantage of winning the toss and electing to bat first on the opening day.

It was the lowest first innings score in a test at Galle, well short of the previous mark of 181 for Sri Lanka against Pakistan 21 years ago.

England, who won 3-0 in their last series in Sri Lanka two years ago, will start their innings after tea.

The 23-year-old Bess got off to the perfect start when he took the wicket of the dangerous Kusal Perera with only his second ball of the morning. Attempting an ambitious reverse sweep, Perera succeeded only in top edging the ball to Joe Root at slip to depart for 20 in the first of several ill-considered shots from the home batsmen.

Niroshan Dickwella was caught at backward point for 12 while Dasun Shanaka, who scored 23, went in bizarre circumstances, sweeping his shot onto the ankle of Jonny Bairstow at short leg, popping it up into the air for wicketkeeper Jos Buttler to claim.

Bess completed a second test five-wicket haul by bowling Dilruwan Perera and Wanindu Hasaranga.

Preferred to England’s record test wicket taker James Anderson, Broad bagged opener Lahiru Thirimanne and struggling Kusal Mendis in the same over for the first two wickets of the test and then added Angel Mathews after lunch.

Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal, who took over the captaincy from injured Dimuth Karunaratne, looked to be fighting back after Sri Lanka were 65-3 for lunch but their 56-run partnership for the fourth wicket came to an end when Mathews thrashed at Broad’s delivery and it flew through to Root in the slips for a sharp catch.

Chandimal went in the next over, caught by Sam Curran off Jack Leach, for the top score of the innings of 28.

Sri Lanka were forced to leave out Karunaratne due to a fractured thumb - another injury blow to a team that suffered several setbacks on their tour of South Africa earlier this month.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Source: Reuters

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