Sri Lanka v England day 1: Jimmy's excellence & Randy's roundabout report - Barmy Army Menu
Pool/Getty Images Sport

Sri Lanka v England day 1: Jimmy’s excellence & Randy’s roundabout report

The second Test between England and Sri Lanka is finely poised after day 1 in Galle, with Angelo Mathews century helping the hosts reach 229/4 by stumps despite the excellence of Jimmy Anderson on his return to the side.

The greatest fast bowler in the history of the game – as his 600-plus wickets illustrate – missed the first Test but was brought back into the side in place of his usual partner Stuart Broad, the only change made to Joe Root’s XI ahead of the final game of the series.

The hosts made changes of their own, with Oshada Fernando, Suranga Lakmal, and debutant Ramesh Mendis replacing Kusal Mendis, Dasun Shanaka, and Wanindu Hasaranga, while coach Mickey Arthur changed his much-discussed tight shorts for trousers.

Once again Dinesh Chandimal won the toss and opted to bat first and, as in the series opener, England’s fast bowling attack made early inroads into the Sri Lankan batting lineup.

Kusal Perera was the first man to go, nicking Jimmy to the skipper at slip before Oshada Fernando – brought in to strengthen the batting ahead of the second Test – was bowled four balls later.

There was to be no first innings skittling this time, however, as Angelo Matthews and Lahiru Thirimanne dug in, making things difficult for Root’s bowlers on a pitch that so far has looked a fantastic one to bat on.

If nothing else, that highlights just what a phenomenal bowling performance it was from Jimmy on his first day of Test cricket in 2021. He finished with staggering figures of 3-24 from his 19 overs, which included 10 maidens. Genius.

Jimmy made the breakthrough after lunch, as Thirimanne victim became number 603 by tickling one through to Jos Buttler behind the stumps.

Mark Wood was another standout performer for the tourists, toiling hard and making things very difficult for Chandimal in particular – producing a spell of bouncers that almost had us feeling sorry for the opposition skipper.

The England seamer eventually had his reward as he got one to reverse into the Sri Lankan captain’s pads late on in the day. A beauty and nothing less than Woody deserved after his day’s work.

But as he often seems to be, Mathews was a thorn in England’s side and batted beautifully to ensure the hosts moved beyond 200 by the end of the day.

He brought up a classy century late in the evening session, his first in Galle and certainly one that deserves our respect.

Day 1’s entertainment wasn’t just limited to inside the stadium either! Our correspondent Randy Caddick – whose limited-edition IPA was released yesterday – was back on the Galle Fort and kept us up to date with what was going on around him with his ‘Roundabout Report’.

It’s certainly a must-watch if you’re keen to experience what it’s like to be in Sri Lanka.

The second Test is finely poised after day 1 but some quick wickets tomorrow morning could put England back in the driving seat.

With the second new ball just seven overs old, Root’s bowlers will feel they have a fantastic chance to do just that!