Sri Lanka v England: first Test, day one – live! | Sport
18th over: England 38-2 (Bairstow 14, Root 10) A maiden from Perera to Bairstow.
“Happy New Test Series!” says Richard Jansz-Moore. Thanks, and the same to you. “I assume that Dom Bess’s performance was inspired by Vic Marks’ retirement and will be dedicated to him in the post-match interview. Either that or it was a thinly disguised attempt to persuade him to come out of retirement for ‘one last job’ to be able to write about a surprisingly good Somerset performance!” Ha. I can hear Vic’s trademark chuckle, drifting over the sodden hills of south-west England.
17th over: England 38-2 (Bairstow 14, Root 10) A change of tack against Embuldeniya, as both batsmen attack him with the sweep. Bairstow picks up a two and a single, Root a four – the first one since Crawley’s flick, several days ago.
16th over: England 31-2 (Bairstow 11, Root 6) A single to each batsman off Perera. They’ve always liked batting together, though Bairstow may be a little sore at the way he’s been pushed to the margins of the Test team.
15th over: England 29-2 (Bairstow 10, Root 5) A maiden to Bairstow from Embuldeniya, who has been superb.
We have the TMS link. Thank you, Robert Barnes. You’re allowed to use it as long as you keep reading this.
14th over: England 29-2 (Bairstow 10, Root 5) Root, still watchful, goes block-block-block before tucking Perera to midwicket for a single. Bairstow blocks out the blocking and just takes the tuck.
“Got to say, I’m loving the Under-12s feel this match has at the moment,” said Peter Salmon, before Crawley was out. “Batting collapses, batsmen run out from the ball being hit back, catches which bounce off other players and Crawley having to dive after a stupid call. I really want Joe Root to come out without his box and have to go back and get it, and then the bigger boy Bairstow to thump 25 and retire.”
13th over: England 27-2 (Bairstow 9, Root 4) No, it wasn’t a change of ends – Embuldeniya is continuing. Bairstow gets hold of a sweep for the first time, a lap for two, and then he rocks back and cuts for three, playing nice and late. And that’s drinks, with Sri Lanka on top for the half-session and hanging in there overall. They just need one more wicket soon to get down to Dan Lawrence, the debutant who showed some nerves this morning by dropping an easy catch.
12th over: England 21-2 (Bairstow 4, Root 3) Hasaranga is no sooner on than off, perhaps because he’s going to change ends. On comes Dilruwan Perera, who is 15 years his senior. He has a fine record at Galle but these two batsmen, both right-handers, are probably happy to face off-spin rather than leg-breaks and googles.
11th over: England 20-2 (Bairstow 3, Root 3) Root plays his most Rootish stroke, the back-foot glide, and picks up a couple as the ball spins and nutmegs the fielder at backward point.
10th over: England 18-2 (Bairstow 3, Root 1) The new batsman, Joe Root, faces a new bowler, Wanindu Hasaranga, the artist formerly known as PWH de Silva. Root is watchful, leaving a couple of leg-breaks outside off, then square-driving for a single. “He’ll be quite a handful,” says Kumar Sangakkara.
9th over: England 16-2 (Bairstow 2, Root 0) Emboldened by his wickets, Embuldeniya very nearly bags Bairstow too, edging just short of slip. He has two for seven from five overs. Game on.
Wicket! Crawley c Hasaranga b Embuldeniya 9 (England 17-2)
Gone!! From 267 to single figures. Crawley gives Embuldeniya the charge, aims for long-on, doesn’t get hold of it and chips to mid-off, where Hasaranga runs back and takes a good catch. Cricket does love to be a leveller.
8th over: England 16-1 (Crawley 9, Bairstow 2) A better shot from Bairstow, dabbing Fernando into the gap at midwicket.
“Zak Crawley’s 267 feels a lifetime ago, but that series against Pakistan was great, wasn’t it?” says Will Lane. “In fact, the West Indies one was too. I can’t remember the last time a Test series involving England wasn’t full of drama, intriguing performances and frustrations in equal doses. I thought it was interesting that you mentioned Crawley being rewarded for his 267 by opening in this Test. I know he has experience opening and the prospect of Bairstow there in Tests seems ludicrous, but I can’t help feeling that anyone else scoring 267 would be kept in the position from which they got that score. He does strike me as unflappable but it seems quite unfair on such a young player to keep moving him around the order when he has been lauded as the answer to England’s number 3 problem.”
7th over: England 15-1 (Crawley 9, Bairstow 1) Bairstow, back in the team because of Burns’s absence, gets off the mark with a sweep that comes off the glove. That’s another victory for Embuldeniya, who has started well with one for six off four overs.
6th over: England 14-1 (Crawley 9, Bairstow 0) Crawley helps himself to the first boundary of the innings, as Fernando strays onto middle-and-leg – a crisp flick that is well timed enough to beat the square-leg fielder. He looks up for the challenge on this tour, which in his case is to become a two-hit wonder.
5th over: England 10-1 (Crawley 5, Bairstow 0) So Sri Lanka are still in the game – although if they stay there, the game could be over tomorrow.
Wicket! Sibley c Thirimanne b Embuldeniya 4 (England 10-1)
Snicko did detect an edge, so Sibley is on his way, suffering for his habit of bringing the bat down from slip to mid-on rather than dead straight. Since Sri Lanka were 81 for three, this game has gone bananas with eight wickets falling for 64. Here’s Jonny Bairstow, looking none the worse for the whack he took on his ankle (which brought a wicket).
Review! By SL against Sibley
Sibley is beaten by a classic left-arm delivery, angled in and spinning away. It’s taken at slip, but the umpire doesn’t detect a nick… Looks close.
4th over: England 10-0 (Crawley 5, Sibley 4) A single for each batsman off Fernando, and no alarms.
“Hi Tim,” says Andy Hockley. “Don’t suppose anyone has sent in a link for the TMS commentary for overseas listeners, have they? It’s the most difficult to find link on the Internet, and googling helps not an iota. It’s cold in Transylvania, and I’d like to imagine myself in Galle.” That last sentence feels like the beginning of a novel. The request, I’m going to throw out to the readers.
3rd over: England 8-0 (Crawley 4, Sibley 3) The players suddenly remember that this is Test cricket as Sibley, England’s sobersides-in-chief, blocks his way through a maiden from Embuldeniya.
2nd over: England 8-0 (Crawley 4, Sibley 3) There’s seam at the other end, from Asitha Fernando, who immediately thinks he’s got Sibley LBW. It’s a touch high and leg-stumpish, and if the Sri Lankans had realised that, they might have got a run-out instead, as Crawley dashed off from the non-striker’s end and Sibley sent him back, leaving him diving to make his ground – a sprawling Crawley. This whole day is shaping up as a masterclass in how not to play cricket.
1st over: England 5-0 (Crawley 4, Sibley 0) Last time we saw Zak Crawley, he was batting at No.3 and racking up 267 against Pakistan. His reward is to be asked to open here in place of Rory Burns, who is on paternity leave. He picks up where he left off, facing spin and looking for runs, with a pull for two and a push into the covers for two more.
So, after that classic batting collapse, what have England got? Sri Lanka are going to test them by opening with some spin, Lasith Embuldeniya’s slow left-arm.
Here’s Phil Withall. “There’s something wonderfully comforting in finishing work for the day,” he reckons, “checking the OBO and finding England in such a strong position. I look forward to following England’s reply accompanied by a large glass of wine (or two)…” You’re not in Taunton, are you?
Until today, Dom Bess was no more than a handy bits-and-pieces player. In ten Tests, he had 19 wickets at an average of 40 and a strike rate of 88 – so he needed nearly 15 overs to take each wicket. Today, in 10.1 overs, he took five for 30 – so a wicket came along every 12 balls. He didn’t bowl any better than Jack Leach, who took one for 55. But he has got something about him – a bit of spark. He’s the guy who was in Ikea when he got the call from England. This series is his chance to become part of the furniture.
“(Ex-)Somerset spinners taking wickets on Day 1,” says Charles Sheldrick. “ECB pitch inspectors will be on the next plane!”
Sri Lanka all out for 135 (Hasaranga b Bess 19)
It’s all over now. Hasaranga plays one shot too many, a reverse sweep, misses, and hands Bess a five-for – the last four wickets in a rush, plus the opener Kusal Perera. Bess will never find it easier. Sri Lanka, even if you allow for their injuries, were awful. “I think abysmal’s being kind.” says Nasser Hussain.
46th over: Sri Lanka 135-9 (Hasaranga 19, Fernando 0) Hasaranga is not going to die wondering. He flashes past slip for two, then slashes to cover, wants two more – and nearly perishes to a run-out that takes the TV umpire some time to adjudicate on.
“Morning Tim,” says Guy Hornsby, “from an absolutely biblical walk to nursery in sunny Manchester. I heartily second David Horn’s views [40th over]. Cricket has been a real ray of sunshine this last year. A gift. Much like England’s great start today, communicated via the beauty of your and Rob’s prose on the OBO and the dulcet tones of TMS are keeping the spirits dry even if my feet are sodden. Speaking of TMS, did you catch any of Ali Mitchell’s chat with Justin Langer at lunch? I like Langer a lot but it really was peak victimhood. Very strange indeed from an Aussie.” I didn’t! Langer was such a calm player, but you wouldn’t know it from the way he talks.
45th over: Sri Lanka 130-9 (Hasaranga 14, Fernando 0) Asitha Fernando restores a smidgen of order by playing out a maiden from Bess.
44th over: Sri Lanka 130-9 (Hasaranga 14, Fernando 0) Before that blow, Hasaranga thwacked Leach over extra-cover for four. He also bowls leg spin, and he looks like a star – but he may be wondering what he’s doing in this team.
Wicket! Embuldeniya run out Leach 0 (SL 130-9)
Another stroke of bad luck for Sri Lanka as Hasaranga plays a lusty straight drive, the bowler gets a fingertip to it and Embuldeniya is run out backing up. It never rains but it pours.
43rd over: Sri Lanka 126-8 (Hasaranga 10, Embuldeniya 0) Bess has three for 13 in this spell. Off three overs!
Wicket! Perera b Bess 0 (SL 126-8)
Perera aims an airy drive at a full flighted delivery, plays inside it and loses his off bail. It was a good ball this time, but Perera is 38, and he’s just let down a guy playing his third Test. Sri Lanka are heading for the lowest total batting first at Galle, breaking their own record of 181.
Slo-mo reveals that it was actually Bairstow’s ankle. Ouch. He’s gone off for treatment. Still, it’ll all seem worth it when he sees it again on A Question of Sport.
Wicket!? Shanaka c Buttler b Bess 23 (SL 126-7)
Ah this is bad luck. Shanaka sweeps, Bairstow at short leg leaps – and back-heels the ball straight to Buttler, who takes a simple catch. A tale of two wicketkeepers.
42nd over: Sri Lanka 126-6 (Shanaka 23, Hasaranga 10) Shanaka joins in the fun, slog-sweeping Leach for four. Root responds by taking out his short leg, which seems like the move you’d make at 126 for one, not 126 for six.
41st over: Sri Lanka 121-6 (Shanaka 18, Hasaranga 10) Hasaranga, who is playing his third Test, is already looking as if he won’t be down at No.8 for long. He cover-drives Bess for four, then chips him over mid-on for two. After facing nine deliveries, he’s the first batsman today to go at a run a ball.