Captain Joe Root expects spin twins Dom Bess and Jack Leach to be even better in the second Test after both claimed five-wicket hauls in England’s victory over Sri Lanka in the first match at Galle International Stadium.\
Bess took five for 30 as England skittled their hosts out cheaply in the first innings, while Leach claimed five for 122 in the second before the visitors wrapped up a seven-wicket win on Monday.
Jonny Bairstow and Dan Lawrence held their nerve in a 62-run unbroken stand to guide England to a win on the fifth and final morning of the series-opening Test.
The teams meet again in Galle from Friday and Root said the spin duo will have learnt a lot from the first Test.
“I think they will be better. They got a huge amount from this, not only in terms of confidence from taking wickets but the amount of time they had out there,” he told a news conference.
“You cannot replicate the amount of time spent out in the field in a match situation against international players.
“Not just the actual art of spin bowing, the skill and technical elements of it, but the mental aspect of it, getting used to the heat. We didn’t have the usual lead-in to a tour that is played in such extreme conditions.”
Root also hinted that all-rounder Moeen Ali could yet play in the second test after recovering from Covid-19. Root was named Man of the Match after scoring 228 in England’s first innings but said the victory was a team effort. “Any Test win you’ve got to take a lot of confidence from, and a lot of heart from,” he added.
Brief scores: Sri Lanka 135 & 359. England 421 & 76/3 (Jonny Bairstow 35 n.o., Dan Lawrence
21 n.o.). Eng won by 7 wkts.