Offside spinner Dom Bess won five wickets to help Sri Lanka win 135 and give England the lead on day one of a test that took 10 months to start on Thursday. Bess, who returned numbers 5 to 30, combined with paceman Stuart Broad, who took three wickets as Sri Lanka were all out in two sessions as the two-test series resumed in Galle after the initial tour was interrupted on the coronavirus in March. England lost their openers early but skipper Joe Root, over 66, and Jonny Bairstow, over 47, drove the tourists 127-for-two by the end of the game. They still follow Sri Lanka by eight points.
The batting duo put together an undefeated 110 partnership after Dom Sibley, for four, and Zak Crawley, for nine, fell to Lasith Embuldeniya’s left arm rotation.
Root, who successfully reviewed a lbw appeal in his favor after being given by the referee on the field on the 20th, hit his 50th fifty in 98 tests. It is 17 centuries old.
Bess remained the hero of the day, however, with his second five-wicket draw in his 11th test as the site recorded its lowest score in the first inning, well below 181 against Pakistan in 2000.
Sri Lanka suffered a pre-match shake when skipper Dimuth Karunaratne was excluded from the first of two tests due to a broken thumb.
Alternate captain Dinesh Chandimal scored 28 points and held off to a 56-point stand with Angelo Mathews, who made 27 on his return from a hamstring injury.
Broad hit twice in an over to dismiss first opener Lahiru Thirimanne, who had scored four, and Kusal Mendis for nothing – his fourth consecutive duck – to cause early trouble for the hosts.
Spin was introduced in the 11th and Bess, with his second ball, got Kusal Perera for 20 when the batter landed a reverse sweep to England captain Joe Root on the first slip.
Sri Lanka had dropped to 25 for three but Mathews and Chandimal stayed firm until lunch.
Broad came back in the second session to break the stand as he had Mathews caught in the underpants and Chandimal, who survived a lost hold by newbie Dan Lawrence before lunch on the 22nd, left two balls later off by Jack Leach.
Mathews, whose hamstring injury kept him out of the 2-0 Test Series defeat to South Africa, passed 6,000 tries on his shot before Bess quickly went into order middle and lower.
In response, tourists slipped to 17 for two after Sibley was caught on the first slip and Crawley also returned to the lodge within nine.
Root and Bairstow then fought cautiously to put together England’s best partnership for all the counters on the site.
The game is played behind closed doors.
Topics mentioned in this article