After a 0-2 defeat in the ICC World Test Championship series against South Africa, Sri Lanka host England in a 2-Test series at the Galle International Stadium. The first SL v ENG Test match began on 14th January.
The England cricket team still has an chance of qualifying for the ICC World Test Championship final. Joe Root’s men hold the fourth position on the table. They will play two Tests in Galle this month and then visit India to battle the hosts in a 4-Test series.
Here’s a look at the Galle International Stadium’s pitch report and weather conditions.
Galle International Stadium pitch report:
The pitches in Sri Lanka have generally assisted the spin bowlers. The wicket at the Galle International Stadium is no different. In the previous SL v ENG Test on this ground, off-spinner Moeen Ali scalped eight wickets for the visitors. Unfortunately, Ali will miss the series owing to his positive COVID-19 test.
Galle International Stadium weather conditions:
The weather report hints there could be rainfall on the first three days of the first SL v ENG Test match. Many rain interruptions are expected during this SL v ENG series.
Day 1 Report:
The hosts lost their first wicket in as early as the seventh over, when Lahiru Thirimanne fell into Broad’s trap.Later, Broad had another when Kusal Mendis fell to his leg-cutter, feathering an edge to the wicketkeeper Jos Buttler. It was his fourth duck in a row in Tests. It was tough going. Dilruwan Perera and Embuldeniya both failed to get off the mark, and while Wanindu Hasaranga’s enterprising 22-ball 19 took Sri Lanka to 135, his dimissal, which helped Bess to the coveted five-wicket haul, ended a difficult innings.
The hosts were bundled out for 135 their lowest first-innings total in Galle after opting to bat, with Dom Bess claiming his second five-for in Test cricket. No Lankan Batsman can play an impact match.
The England batsmen’s start was also not good too much. The visitors lost Dom Sibley in the fifth over of their innings, when the hosts used the DRS to good effect – Sibley was adjudged caught at slip off Lasith Embuldeniya. When Zak Crawley, who scored a double-century in his last Test, got out England seemed in trouble at 17/2.
However, captain Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow absorbed the pressure and counter-attacked, putting on an unbroken 110* to help England go through to stumps primed for a second-day assault.Root brought up his 50th half-century in Test cricket, Bairstow a typically dominant 47*
Day 2 Report:
Sri Lanka failed to do good on the second day, as Joe Root’s record 168* helped England further their position of dominance in the first Test, helping the England to 320 for 4 at the Galle International Stadium today. The debutant, who displayed exemplary application on the turning wicket, however couldn’t make the most of those opportunities as he eventually departed on 73.
However, for a good part of the post Lunch session, with runs flowing quickly, Srilankan spinners often failed to hit the right lengths. The short-pitched deliveries, much like in the previous session. Srilankan bowlers unable to transfer pressure, Lawrence too brought up his maiden fifty soon after.
Even after the fall of Lawrence’s wicket, Root remained unfettered in his approach. He too got a life when his sweep hit Kusal Mendis straight on the body in the last over before Tea. As per reports rain distruppred the match after the tea break. At the end of the day England were 320 for 4 wickets. Captain Joe Root and skipper Jos Buttler is still not out with the runs of 168 and 7 respectively.
Here’s the playing Xl
Srilanka: Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal (c), Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dilruwan Perera, Lasith Embuldeniya, Asitha Fernando.
England: Zak Crawley, Dominic Sibley, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root (c), Daniel Lawrence (debut), Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Dominic Bess, Jack Leach, Mark Wood, Stuart Broad.