Ben Foakes has become only the second England wicketkeeper in history to score a Test century on debut, as England added 21 runs to their overnight score to post 342 for their first innings.
The Surrey gloveman was able to reach his ton despite the early loss of Jack Leach to Dilruwan Perera for 15 on the second morning of the first Test in Galle.
Foakes and Jimmy Anderson added 12 more runs to England’s total before Surenga Lakmal was able to capture the debutant for a 202-ball 107.
The Essex academy graduate repeats the feat of Matt Prior who became the first England wicketkeeper to score a hundred on debut in 2007 against the West Indies.
Prior praised the efforts of Foakes on foreign soil, telling Sky Sports: “It’s a number of dreams coming true over the last 24 hours. Firstly to get selected and make your debut and then to walk out and get a hundred.
“The thing that is most impressive about Ben Foakes is the way he walks out. He’s just been handed his cap and an hour-and-a-half later he’s walking out to bat with England 100-5, in foreign conditions against spin.
“It’s not like me when I made my debut at Lord’s and you’re used to the conditions.
“For him to go on and get a hundred is incredible and it’s set him up brilliantly to take up the other part of his game which is at wicketkeeper.”
Foakes did not have to wait long for his first catch in Test cricket as Jimmy Anderson drew a thin edge out of opener Dimuth Karunaratne on the second ball of Sri Lanka’s innings.
The hosts’ top-order fared little better as Sam Curran, Moeen Ali and Jack Leach got in on the act to reduce the hosts to 42-4.
The fightback arrived in the form of Sri Lanka’s two most senior batsmen in skipper Dinesh Chandimal, battling a groin strain, and Angelo Mathews.
The pair combined for a 75-run partnership for the fifth wicket before Foakes added to his impressive debut with the stumping of Chandimal off the bowling of Adil Rashid.
Mathews soldiered on to reach his 30th Test half-century but fell short just after Tea on 52 to the bowling of Ali, who was the pick of the England bowlers taking 4-66 as Sri Lanka were bowled all out for 203.
The performance of spinners Ali, Rashid and Leach bodes well for England as the trio claimed a share of eight wickets in the first innings.
With six overs remaining on day two of the Test, England are 17-0.
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