Ali stars with the ball as England beat Sri Lanka


The Somerset man will hope to have done enough to remain in the team, even if Jonny Bairstow returns after injury, for the second Test in Pallekele (November 14-18). I may play some first-class cricket but we will see how it goes.

In England's second innings an assured unbeaten 146 by Keaton Jennings, his first century since a ton on his 2016 debut that has silenced his critics for now at least, allowed Root to declare at 322 for six.

Sri Lanka were chasing a massive 462 and, resuming on 15 without loss, they never threatened to come back into the contest on Thursday with no rain forthcoming to save them after an overnight downpour.

'We played some really good stuff, ' Root said.

We wondered about them playing against Sri Lanka's spinners, we wondered about the pitch - whether it would be as hard as it usually is here - and we also had concerns about the weather.

Whenever you win somewhere overseas for the first time it is always very special - but before this game nobody expected England would triumph here because they had had virtually no preparation. But him coming into runs is a good sign for us.

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England had secured a first-innings lead of 139 thanks to a century on debut by Ben Foakes - man of the match - and a formidable spin attack led by Ali and assisted ably by Leach and Adil Rashid restricting Sri Lanka to 203 in reply.

"I'm very happy with the way Mathews conducted himself throughout the game, and his commitment for running between the wickets and for the batting", he said.

But both fell after attacking shots, with Kaushal leg before trying to sweep Leach for 30 and Karunaratne caught and bowled by Ali for 26 and skipped down the pitch for an attempted heave.

Angelo Mathews (53 off 92 balls) and Kusal Mendis (45 off 77) added 46 for the fourth wicket as the last real form of resistance, with Mathews surviving until the 69th over, when he was caught by Jos Buttler off Moeen Ali to leave Sri Lanka on 190-6. One ball after Dhananjaya de Silva successfully overturned a caught behind decision, Stokes tightened up his line and took an indisputable edge that nestled safely in the hands of Root.

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. The contributions of offspinner Akila Dananjaya came in for especial scrutiny - Dananjaya got only two wickets in the match, and conceded more than 4.7 runs per over.

"It's not just us, like we're the only side that struggles away from home, it's across the board in test cricket", the 27-year-old batsman told reporters.