SL vs ENG 1st Test: England lost wickets upfront but inching closer to an emphatic win in Galle

SL vs ENG 1st Test: Lahiru Thirimanne (101) and Angelo Mathews (71) showed some fightback as the hosts bowled out for 359 on Day 4, set a mere 74-run target. England close in on another win to take lead in the two-match Test series.

By Mohit Sindhu, Updated : Jan 17, 2021 19:40 IST
SL vs ENG 1st Test: England lost wickets upfront but inching closer to an emphatic win in Galle
England are inching closer to an emphatic win

SL vs ENG 1st Test Day 4 Highlights: Day 4: Stumps - England need 36 runs

Brief Scores: Sri Lanka - 135 & 359 (Lahiru Thirimanne 111; Mathews 71, Leach 5/122, Bess 3/100) 

ENG - 421 (Joe Root 228, Dan Lawrence 73; Dilruwan Perera 4/129, Lasith Embuldeniya 3/176) & 38/3 (Bairstow 11,* Lawrence 7*; Embuldeniya 2/13)

In the opening Test between Sri Lanka and England (ENG vs SL) at Galle, Sri Lankan bowlers nipped three early wickets as the visitors are chasing down a mere 74-run target. Instead, Joe Root and Co found themselves at 12/3 with two of the three dismissals coming due to absolute brain fades. But debutant Lawrence along with Bairstow hung in since then to prevent further damage. And in a small chase like this, it only takes a tiny partnership to seal the deal. At Stumps on Day 4, England are 38/3 and needs 36 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match Test series.

Dan Lawrence and Jonny Bairstow take England to 38/3 at stumps on day four. Sri Lanka needs 7 more wickets to make history, however, the hosts knew clearly that their winning chances are very slim. If only their batsmen had batted better in the first innings, or if they had shown a bit more intent today with the bat, those extra 50-60 runs could have been made.

England's spin twins (Bess and Leach) are being lauded by their mates as they walk off the park. Sri Lanka did put up a big fight in this second innings, batting over 135 overs and making the visitors earn every wicket. Mathews was the lone ranger today, and he stitched some mini partnerships but England kept chipping away at the wickets, staying patient even when they weren't getting wickets. A five-wicket haul for Jack Leach and Sri Lanka are all out for 359 in their second innings.

Root's marathon double-century

The Lankans resumed with 156/2 at stumps on Day 3, A good reason for Sri Lanka to find themselves in that position was largely due to the southpaw Lahiru Thirimanne's 2nd Test century (111 off 251) with 12 fours, which much like Root's marathon knock in the first innings, was a display of the best approach on the wicket - to be on the defensive when the bowlers were bowling in good channels, and not missing the scoring advantage when they erred in their line and lengths. 

England skipper leading from the front and slammed his fourth Test double-century (228 off 321 balls, the second against Sri Lanka, having scored one against them in 2014 at Lord’s – but four of the next five batsmen were dismissed for single digits and England finished with 421 in their first innings. Parera and Embuldeniya and Parera took four and three wickets for SL.

Root and Co earlier, bundled out Sri Lanka for a paltry 135 in the first innings. Bess took a fifer and Broad picked a couple of wickets as well.