England pick up emphatic 7-wicket victory over Sri Lanka
England have picked up an emphatic 7-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in Galle in the first Test to take an unassailable 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
Resuming day 5 on 38 for three with just 36 runs to win, England batsmen Jonny Bairstow and Daniel Lawrence held their nerves and knocked off the target inside 35 minutes with ease on Monday (January 18) morning.
This marks England’s fifth victory in Sri Lanka, after a 3-0 whitewash in 2018 and the series levelling win in 2012.
It is also their fourth successive overseas Test victory, following the three that ended their tour of South Africa at the start of 2020. It is for the first time since 1955-57 for England to have attained such a run.
Bairstow ended the match unbeaten on 35 and Lawrence 21 as they shared an unbroken 62-run stand after the hosts were slipped to 14 for three during a frantic end to day four, with Dom Sibley (2) bowled, Zak Crawley caught at gully and skipper Joe Root (1) run out.
However, Lawrence would have fallen lbw to spinner Dilruwan Perera on nine had Sri Lanka reviewed.
Earlier Sri Lanka had made a great fightback in their second innings, scoring 359 runs with Lahiru Thirimanne smacking his first century (111) in seven years.
But that was far from enough, as England had made 421 in their own first innings thanks to Joe Root’s record-breaking double hundred (228) as captain, in response to Sri Lanka’s first-innings disaster of 135.
The second and final Test, also in Galle, begins on Friday (January 22).
Brief Scores: England 421 (Root 228; D Perera 4-109) & 76-3 (Bairstow 35*, Embuldeniya 2-29) beat Sri Lanka 135 (Bess 5-30) & 359 (Thirimanne 111, Leach 5-122) by seven wickets, take 1-0 series lead.