England reach 8-321 at stumps in opening day

November 7, 2018

England’s Ben Foakes made a memorable debut to help the tourists recover from a terrible start and reach 8-321 on the opening day of the first Test against Sri Lanka.

With England reeling at 2-10 and then 5-103, even the 200-mark looked difficult but Foakes forged 50-plus stands with Jos Buttler and Sam Curran to drag them back into the contest.

Foakes, replacing the injured Jonny Bairstow in the side, was batting 87 not out at stumps.

England had earlier made an unconvincing start to life following the retirement of stalwart Alastair Cook after captain Joe Root opted to bat first to avoid the prospect of having the final innings at a famously spin-friendly venue.

It was the early pace of Suranga Lakmal, however, that undid the top order of a side playing their first Test since Cook retired in September.

Opener Rory Burns (nine) disappointed on his debut and Moeen Ali failed to justify his promotion to No.3 as Lakmal claimed two wickets in two balls.

Root denied Lakmal a hat-trick and started the rebuilding job, initially at a run-a-ball, with Keaton Jennings.

Sri Lanka wasted both their reviews inside 12 overs, but it was the golden arm of retiring 40-year-old Rangana Herath that ended Root’s 62-run stand with Jennings. The match recommences at 10am this morning.