And welcome to live coverage of the second day’s play from Galle. England begin it with the two Tykes, sons of York (47) and Sheffield (66), North and West Ridings, resuming their third-wicket partnership which stands at 110, with England eight runs behind Sri Lanks. If they manage to turn the screw properly today, given the derelict state of Sri Lanka’s batting, this should be over withing five days.
Nick Hoult, the correspondent, summed up the first day’s play best:
Sri Lanka were so poor it is hard to quantify England’s performance when looking ahead to India next month but confidence can only grow especially for the spinners.Dominic Bess will never take a stranger, or softer, five wicket haul. Three were gifts, one was freakish and the other a lovely flighted off-break that beat the outside edge and hit the stumps. His 5-30 was his best Test figures and remarkable really, given he bowled too full, too often. Jack Leach was the better spinner, offering more control and turn, but luck is rarely on his side and he deserved better than one for 55.
You can read the rest of his report here.
England put up Stuart Broad, who took three for 20, last night:
“It was an absolute dream-world day for us, it’s a nine out of 10 day,” Broad told Sky Sports at the close.
“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.”
Dom Bess, who took five for 30, also spoke: “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.”
The bowlers’ work could have gone to waste had England’s top order folded in similar fashion – hardly unheard of in these parts of the world – but after Sibley and Zak Crawley fell cheaply, the response was impressive.
“Jack Leach and I certainly know how good they are against spin when we bowl at them in the nets and the way they went about it out there was quality,” said Bess.
“There’s a reason they are among the best in the world. They showed a very calm manner, it set the platform, now it’s about going into tomorrow to hopefully build a massive score.
“We still have some proper players to come, it’s about driving the game forward and putting ourselves in a good position.”
The view from the home dressing room was withering, with batting coach Grant Flower, brother of former England coach Andy, offering a damning assessment of his players.
“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.”