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Sri Lanka vs England, 1st Test – Who said what

Although Sri Lanka lost, all the buzz was around Rangana Herath.

Rangana Herath
Rangana Herath. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

A huge loss greeted Sri Lanka in what was the last Test for the legendary Rangana Herath. In the first Test, England won by 211 runs as the hosts’ batsmen failed terribly with the bat. The batting was yet again a troubled territory for the home side. There were just two half-centuries in the match and both of them came from the willow of Angelo Mathews.

A brilliant century from Ben Foakes, who was also the Man of the Match on his debut, helped Sri Lanka gain a huge lead in the first innings. Then, Keaton Jennings, with an unbeaten 146 in the second innings took the game out of Sri Lanka’s hands.

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England’s spin trio of Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid and Jack Leach was brilliant in the game. They picked 16 out of the 20 wickets that fell in the game. In his last Test match, Herath picked up three wickets to end career with 433 wickets in 93 Tests.

Moeen Ali shines with an 8-wicket haul

Moeen Ali was brilliant in the game. Although he failed to register a 5-wicket haul in the match, he accounted for four wickets in both the innings. Debutant Jack Leach was also impressive with five wickets in his first ever game. Galle, which is quite a good venue in terms of results for the hosts, has failed to give Herath a fitting tribute.

The left-arm spinner was carried by his teammates all around the ground on their shoulders with the Sri Lankan flag in the background. Sri Lanka will definitely miss his services in the future. He was gifted with a coin to commemorate the achievement of being the first left-arm spinner to pick 400 Test wickets and was also handed over a trophy. However, he said that he hopes to play some first-class cricket before he bids an adieu to the game completely.

Rangana Herath, who played his last game said:

It’s of course an emotional occasion, but I need to start another life. I might go to my club and may play some first-class cricket. From 2011 the support from my wife, kids and my immediate family members, I really appreciate the support and without that I don’t I could have got to where I am right now.

Ben Foakes, the Man of the Match on his debut, said:

It’s been a surreal few days for me and it feels like a dream. I was a bit nervous initially, but to be able to contribute was amazing. It was very tough but it was good fun, I really enjoyed my wicket-keeping. I have been here a few times before and I must’ve helped (on playing spinners).

It was incredible to face their quality spinners. I think Jonny should be fit for the next game, will have to see what happens. It’s a dream come true (on winning the Test and contributing to the team), one of the best few weeks of my career so far.

England captain, Joe Root said:

Very proud of the way we played this game. The wicket was a bit tacky at the start of the day and then the pitch changed. It got a lot easier to bat on as it dried out. Really proud of Foakes and the rest of the guys. We have done our homework.

As a whole bowling unit we were excellent. It’s been a fantastic start to the tour, we need to back up with a good performance. I am glad he is not there for the next match, having gotten out twice to him (smiles). But yeah, he’s had a fantastic career and it’s great to see so many people celebrate his career.

Sri Lanka captain, Dinesh Chandimal said:

It was a really good wicket, our batting was below-par and if you displayed such kind of a batting, you can’t stay in the game. Credit to England, they outplayed us. Ben and Jos batted really well in the first innings. We fought hard, but we couldn’t get the wickets at the end.

We need to regroup and looking forward to the next game. Batting is the biggest worry. We need to address that. We all know it’s a hard day for us, we all know how much Rangana has contributed to the team and Sri Lankan cricket.

It is a very emotional day today. We wish him a good future. I would like to say sorry to him that we couldn’t win and give him a good farewell. I have a groin strain and I still don’t know who long it takes to heal. He (Rangana) was a tremendous man and a great human being I have ever seen. We have a small gift to him on behalf of the team.

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