Ben Foakes shows class on debut to lift England from adversity


England won the toss and chose to bat first against Sri Lanka
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details

England won the toss and elected to bat in the first Test in Galle, handing both opener Rory Burns and wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Foakes Test debuts. Batting first is a substantial advantage at this venue. The last six Tests have been won by the team that has done so.

Both Burns, who was in the original England squad for this series, and Foakes, who was brought into the squad as injury cover for regular Test wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, are Surrey county players. Burns was particularly impressive in domestic cricket, top-scoring in this year’s County Championship with 1359 runs at an average of 64.71. He effectively replaces the retired Alastair Cook in the XI.

The 25-year-old Foakes, meanwhile, averages 40 in first-class cricket but is an excellent wicketkeeper in his own right – a skill that will come into focus in this Test, because England have fielded a trio of spinners, with left-arm spinner Jack Leach joining legspinner Adil Rashid and offspinner Moeen Ali. Leach, 27, is playing his second Test, his first having come against New Zealand, in Christchurch earlier this year.

There were no major surprises in the Sri Lanka XI. They also play three frontline spinners, in left-arm orthodox Rangana Herath, and offspinners Dilruwan Perera and Akila Dananjaya.

Opener Kaushal Silva plays his first Test for Sri Lanka in over a year, but there is no place for Roshen Silva, who had had a modest series against South Africa in June.

The Test is the last of Herath’s career. He needs one more wicket to complete a tally of 100 at Galle.

England 1 Rory Burns, 2 Keaton Jennings, 3 Moeen Ali, 4 Joe Root (capt.), 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jos Buttler, 7 Ben Foakes (wk), 8 Sam Curran, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Jack Leach, 11 James Anderson

Sri Lanka 1 Kaushal Silva, 2 Dimuth Karunaratne, 3 Kusal Mendis, 4 Dinesh Chandimal (capt.) 5 Angelo Mathews, 6 Niroshan Dickwella (wk), 7 Dhananjaya de Silva, 8 Dilruwan Perera, 9 Suranga Lakmal, 10 Akila Dananjaya, 11 Rangana Herath

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