Foakes leads England recovery in first Test against Sri Lanka

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Debutant Ben Foakes helped England recover from a dire morning session in the first Test against Sri Lanka, with the tourists 199 for six at tea.

England opted to bat first at Galle but soon found themselves frittering away top order wickets and reached lunch in some strife on 113 for five.

By then Surrey wicketkeeper Foakes had arrived at the crease and he batted with supreme composure throughout the afternoon session, displaying a sound defensive technique and a clarity of thought absent from some of his more experienced colleagues.

Foakes took tea at 49 not out from 104 balls, a chanceless knock in difficult circumstances and one that may earn him an extended run in the side, even before he gets the chance to show off his glovework.

Earlier, Sri Lanka had taken control by preying on several unforced errors. Foakes’ fellow debutant and county captain Rory Burns was first to fall in the third over, strangled down the leg side by Suranga Lakmal.

Moeen Ali’s latest trial at number three was his briefest yet, and possibly his last, clean bowled for a golden duck off Lakmal’s next delivery.

Keaton Jennings and Joe Root briefly steadied the ship as they posted a 62-run stand – the former offering chances on 12 and 26 – but neither kicked on.

Jennings eventually fell for a hard-working 46, bowled by Dilruwan Perera attempting a backfoot cut.

Root looked much more fluent for 35 until misguidedly charging retiring local hero Rangana Herath, misreading the length and yorking himself. Fireworks were duly released above the Galle Fort to toast the 40-year-old’s 100th wicket at the venue.

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes was one of five England wickets to fall in the morning session (Eranga Jayawardena/AP)

Jos Buttler and Foakes added some much-needed steel to halt the Sri Lankan charge after lunch. Together they brought the Test match rhythm back, restoring order until Buttler nicked Perera behind to depart for 38.

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