LONDON (Rahnuma) : Ben Foakes has admitted England are in the driving seat in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle.
The debutant was speaking after he helped the tourists to stretch their lead to 177 runs at stumps on day two. Foakes scored his maiden Test ton and impressed with his glovework as England bowled out the hosts for 203 after their first-innings total of 342.
And the wicketkeeper batsman said that any lead on a pitch that is getting tougher to bat on by the day could prove decisive.
“The wicket dried out, it is spinning more and staying low. It’s tricky,” Foakes, who scored 107, said.
“The pitch depends on what is overhead, if the sun bakes it will turn more and more and be difficult to bat on it.”
The 25-year-old became the 20th Englishman to score a century on his debut and just the second wicketkeeper after Matt Prior in 2007. And of his brilliant start in the Test arena he added: “I was pretty calm this morning and I
got a bit nervous when Jimmy Anderson came out with five to go. It was meant to be my day.
“It was amazing to get a hundred. Such a relief and a great feeling. My brother got here last night, that’s amazing and my mum is getting here in about an hour.
“Getting a few runs settled me down and with Jimmy bowling you know you’re in the game so to get a catch early was great.”
While the man of the day was clearly Foakes, England’s dominant position is down to an impressive team performance. Since they were five wickets down in the first session on day one, the tourists have dominated. The bowling attack did its job, the spinners led by Moeen Ali helped to dismiss Sri Lanka for 203. The Galle pitch, notorious for its low scores, was turning very early on with Moeen claiming four for 66. He was ably supported by fellow spinners Jack Leach and Adil Rashid who took two each.
Sri Lanka found themselves at 40 for four and it took Angelo Mathews to arrest the slide — the former captain scoring 52 before falling to Moeen off the first ball after the tea break.
Leach admitted that the day could not have gone much better for the tourists, who are now big favorites to claim the first of the three-Test series.
“(It was) a great day. It couldn’t have gone much more to plan really. The guys had a word and said we did what we set out to do,” the left-arm spinner said.
“Mo, Rash and myself bowled well. It was great to be involved in that group of spinners.”
At the start of Thursday’s play England were 38 for no loss at stumps in their second innings. Debutant Rory Burns was on 11, and Keaton Jennings had amassed 26. Sri Lanka are in search of quick wickets.