Mathews century leads SL to 229-4 close on Day 1

2021-01-22 at 18:12

Angelo Mathews ground out a century for Sri Lanka as England’s bowlers battled hard on the first day of the second Test in Galle.

The hosts were 7-2 when James Anderson claimed two early wickets, and 76-3 when the seamer struck after lunch.

But, on a flat pitch in gruelling heat, Mathews hit a measured 107 not out as Sri Lanka closed on 229-4.

Mathews put on 117 with captain Dinesh Chandimal, who made 52 before being trapped lbw by Mark Wood.

Niroshan Dickwella finished the day 19 not out with Sri Lanka in a position from which they will believe they can post a telling first-innings score.

However, England limited the scoring on a pitch offering little movement for their fast bowlers or turn for the spinners.

Anderson, brought into the team in place of Stuart Broad in England’s only change from their first-Test victory at the same venue, ended the day with exemplary figures of 19-10-3-24.

When Anderson dismissed Kusal Perera for six and Oshada Fernando for a duck in his third over, there were echoes of Sri Lanka’s dismal batting effort on the first day of the first Test.

Perera edged an inexplicably-rash drive to Joe Root at slip and Fernando, who has replaced out-of-form Kusal Mendis at number three, chopped a ball he could have left onto his stumps.

However, having come to the crease at 7-2, the experienced Mathews held firm – albeit on a surface easier for batting than on day one of the first Test.

Mathews, a veteran of 380 matches for Sri Lanka in an international career spanning more than 12 years, did not offer a chance and milked England’s spinners in a controlled knock.

The 33-year-old put on 69 with Lahiru Thirimanne before his century stand with Chandimal, which wore down England in a baking hot afternoon session.