Stuart Broad claimed England were in “dream world” after dominating the opening day of the first Test against Sri Lanka, in Galle.
The seamer, preferred in the tourists’ XI to James Anderson, set the tone with figures of 3-20 as Sri Lanka were bundled out for just 135 with spinner Dom Bess returning 5-30 before England reached 127-2 in reply.
At stumps captain Joe Root (66no) and Jonny Bairstow (47no) had put on an unbroken stand of 110
“It was an absolute dream-world day for us, it’s a nine out of 10 day,” Broad told Sky Sports Cricket.
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“We talked before the Test match about building pressure for long periods of time and using your individual skill in those periods so for me I concentrated on making the batsmen play as much as possible and also varying my pace in little ways.
“The pitch offered us something with the ball; when you bowl a team out for 135 you expect that but it wasn’t necessarily sideways movement but there was a little bit of extra bounce or a little bit two-paced that brought the fielders in.
“You don’t get days much better than these in the subcontinent. Bowling a team out cheaply and getting close to them two down is fantastic.
“Bairstow and Rooty showed their class. They played with great calmness and composure but playing their aggressive options in the way they wanted to.
“As day ones go we are delighted in the England camp but we know there’s a lot of cricket to be played and tomorrow is going to be a big day.”
Bess, meanwhile, was happy to admit he needed some luck along the way on his way to his career-best figures.
Kusal Perera and Wanindu Hasaranga both botched reverse sweeps, Niroshan Dickwella fed a long hop straight to Dom Sibley at point and Dasun Shanaka found himself caught behind after his sweep rebounded off Bairstow’s ankle at short leg.
Only Bess’ fourth wicket was one for his cut-and-keep collection, Dilruwan Perera deceived off the pitch and through the air, but he made no apologies for cashing in.
“I probably haven’t bowled as well as I could have, and I got away with one or two but that’s cricket,” he said.
“You’re going to bowl good balls that go out the park or get dropped, so take it when it comes for sure. It was a proud moment because I’ve taken five wickets for England and no-one can take it away from me.
Sri Lanka vs England
January 15, 2021, 4:25am
The view from the home dressing room was blunt, with batting coach Grant Flower, brother of former England coach Andy, offering a withering assessment.
“You ask me who should take the blame? Every single batter should take the blame,” he said.
“I’m at a loss for words, I’ve never seen us bat that badly. They know these conditions well and it should have been a big advantage.
“England’s batsmen showed us there’s nothing wrong with the pitch, we batted terribly.”
Watch day two of the first Test between Sri Lanka and England live on Sky Sports Cricket from 4.25am on Friday.
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