Twitter Reactions: Root-Bairstow put England in the driving seat after Bess' fifer crushes Sri Lanka

Twitter Reactions: Root-Bairstow put England in the driving seat after Bess’ fifer crushes Sri Lanka

England skittled Sri Lanka for a paltry 135 before finishing only 8 short of their first innings score at stumps.

Joe Root
Joe Root. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Amidst the chants of home advantage for Sri Lanka, England managed to emulate their dominance from the series of 2018, when they won 3-0 in the Lankans’ backyard. Often days two and three are considered the moving days of a Test, although, for the visitors, that quite turned out to be the first day as they skittled the home team for a paltry 135 before finishing only 8 short of their first innings score at stumps.

In a welcoming addition to the side, Sri Lanka was bolstered by the presence of Angelo Mathews, who missed the entire away series of South Africa due to injury, and Dinesh Chandimal, who missed the second Test due to the same reason. However, the last moment jitter came nevertheless as Dimuth Karunaratne missed out due to the reappearance of pain in the thumb he fractured during the previous tour.

Sri Lanka tumbles

Given that Galle turns into a dustbowl as the game progresses, stand-in skipper Chandimal’s choice of batting first upon winning the toss made sense. Though, little did Sri Lankans know about the sorry story that would unfold! It was not a day when the ball turned square, and though Dom Bess’ five-for might be suggestive that the track was heaven for spinners, it would be but a flawed conclusion. There was turn and bounce on offer undeniably, however, that the Sri Lankans lacked the conviction and grit that the format most severely demands cannot be ignored. Both Stuart Broad and Sam Curran ensured to not give anything to the opponents with the new ball.

Broad struck early as he pitched one slightly short and Lahiru Thirimanne (4 from 22) guided it straight to Jonny Bairstow at leg slip, only a couple of balls before Kusal Mendis, who recorded his fourth consecutive duck – finely edged a leg-cutter off Broad to give Jos Buttler a simple catch behind the wickets. When Kusal Perera found Joe Root in the slips, having ballooned a top-edge off Bess while trying an ambitious reverse sweep, the home team was found itself teetering at 25 for 3.

Dom Bess’ punch

Riding on some luck – England was kind in giving a couple of lives – Chandimal and Mathews ensured that Sri Lanka did not lose another man before Lunch. Resuming action at 65 for 3, the duo continued the resurrection and swelled their partnership to 56 before falling in successive overs as Mathews (27 from 54) edged Broad to slips and Chandimal (28 from 71) submitted a drive off Jack Leach straight to Curran in the covers. What followed was purely Dom Bess’ show, as he knocked over Wanindu Hasaranga and Dilruwan Perera soon after the fall of Niroshan Dickwella and Dasun Shanaka, and wrapped up the tail recording a fifer.

England resolute after early hits

Sri Lanka struck early after Lasith Embuldeniya successfully reviewed for Dom Sibley’s dismissal. Sibley had lunged forward to get to the pitch of the ball, however, a marginal turn after the ball pitched, found the faintest outside edge before going to slips. The 10 for 1  soon slipped to 17 for 2 as Zak Crawley chipped Embuldeniya straight to Hasaranga slightly outside the ring.

Playing spin confidently and moving ahead calculatedly, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow wove an unbeaten 110-run stand for the third wicket, which ensured that England steadied their ship after some early jolts. Root, who stood unbeaten at 66, played each ball on merit en route to his half-century, whereas Bairstow soaked himself in alongside the skipper, standing just 3 short of his half-century at the close of day’s play.

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