England end winless streak as Sri Lanka are spun out in first Test

Joe Root jumps for joy after England secured victory in Galle. (AFP)
Updated 09 November 2018
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England end winless streak as Sri Lanka are spun out in first Test

GALEL, SRI LANKA: Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal paid tribute to an “outstanding” England after Moeen Ali spun the visitors to a commanding first Test victory in Galle.
Set a mammoth 462 to win, sustained pressure from Moeen, fellow spinner Jack Leach and aggressive seam bowling from Ben Stokes bundled out the hosts for 250 on day four.
The 211-run victory, England’s first Test win away from home in 13 matches, leaves Joe Root’s men 1-0 up in the three-match series, with the second Test starting in Kandy next Wednesday.
“We played some really good stuff,” Root said. “We can go to Kandy with huge amounts of confidence and look to still improve and get better.”
England had secured a first-innings lead of 139 thanks to a century on debut by Ben Foakes — man of the match — and a formidable spin attack led by Ali and assisted ably by Leach and Adil Rashid restricting Sri Lanka to 203 in reply.
In England’s second innings an assured unbeaten 146 by Keaton Jennings, his first century since a ton on his 2016 debut that has silenced his critics for now at least, allowed Root to declare at 322 for six.
“Our batting was below-par during the game, you can’t stay in the game (with this kind of batting),” said Chandimal.
“Credit goes to England, they played some outstanding cricket. We had a really good start in the first session but we couldn’t capitalize on it,” he said.
Root, who only managed 35 and three with the bat himself, said he was “very proud” of his team, paying tribute to his “excellent” bowling unit and to some “crucial knocks” by England’s batsmen.
“We’ve done our homework and made sure we came here knowing how we were going to try and approach things,” Root said.
“It’s been a fantastic start of things and we’ve got to build on it and make sure we don’t just rest on our laurels now. We will work very hard now before that second Test match and hopefully back up a really good performance.”
Fifteen without loss overnight, Sri Lanka’s openers Kaushal Silva and Dimuth Karunaratne withstood the pressure from England’s formidable bowling attack for the first hour on Friday.
But both fell after attacking shots, with Kaushal leg before trying to sweep Leach for 30 and Karunaratne caught and bowled by Ali — who took four wickets in both innings — for 26 as he skipped down the pitch for an attempted heave.
Dhananjaya de Silva, after a confident start, was caught at first slip by Root off Stokes in the last over before lunch for 21. The ball earlier he was given out but reprieved on review.
After the break Kusal Mendis hit Leach for four over his head but attempting a repeat the next ball skied the ball to Ali, departing for an otherwise impressive 46.
Chandimal, suffering from a groin injury that kept him off the pitch all of Thursday, was skittled by Leach for 11. Niroshan Dikwella fell the first ball after tea, caught adroitly by Stokes one-handed at slip off Ali for 16.
Soon afterwards Angelo Mathews — dropped on 18 by James Anderson — went for 53, caught by Jos Buttler at midwicket with Ali again the wicket-taker. He was followed into the pavilion by Akila Dananjaya for eight.
Last out was silver fox Rangana Herath, cricket’s most successful left-arm spinner, run out for five in his swansong before retirement.
Chandika Hathurusingha, Sri Lanka’s coach, said his side were playing catch-up since lunch on day one when England turned the match around having been five down for 103.
“After that, the way they batted, they took the game away from us. From there on we were chasing the game. In Test cricket, especially on wickets like these, it is very difficult to come back,” he said.
“They outplayed us in all three departments of the game.”


Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City ease past Huddersfield to cut Liverpool’s Premier League lead

Updated 20 January 2019
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Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City ease past Huddersfield to cut Liverpool’s Premier League lead

HUDDERSFIELD: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was far from satisfied despite a 3-0 win away to Huddersfield Town on Sunday that saw his side cut Liverpool’s lead at the top of the Premier League table to four points.
Liverpool’s compelling 4-3 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday heaped huge pressure back onto reigning champions City but they were rarely troubled by a Town side that look a certain bet for relegation this season.
City’s first goal, a deflected strike for Danilo in the 18th minute, brought up their 100th goal of the season in all competitions before Raheem Sterling scored a diving header from Leroy Sane’s cross in the 54th minute and Sane himself made it 3-0 with a calm finish just two minutes later.
For Guardiola, it should have been an afternoon of enjoyment as his side again proved their willingness to push Liverpool all the way this season.
The City manager, however, has forged a footballing reputation based on sublime performances as well as ruthless goalscoring and, on that basis, his team’s showing in West Yorkshire was not a success as the visitors never really clicked into gear on a day against a Huddersfield side who had parted company with manager David Wagner on Monday.
“During the season you have these kind of games,” Guardiola said. “It is important to win. We have scored many goals in all competitions.
“(But) the way we played, we didn’t deserve more than three goals. We will improve in the future.
“We have to demand more from ourselves in every game and do our best, but sometimes it’s difficult.
“Today we are happy we have won but after immediately we have to analyze. During the season you have games when maybe you are not in the top level and it is important to win these games.”
Although City’s fans were happier than their manager following this result, Guardiola could at least take some heart from the fact his side again refused to blink first in the race for the title.
For the second consecutive week, City kicked off knowing Liverpool had already won their weekend fixture and that, consequently, the onus was back on his players to secure three points as well.
Once again, Guardiola’s side managed to do that following up the 3-0 victory over Wolves with this showing and the City manager was more than happy to remind everybody that silverware is not handed out for another four months.
“One team has been better but we’re in January and there’s many more games to play,” he added.
“You don’t win or lose the Premier League in January. We have to focus on what we have to do. If Liverpool win, we have to win. And if Liverpool lose then we also have to win.”
This match was a baptism of fire for Huddersfield’s caretaker boss Mark Hudson and while the Terriers showed impressive fight to inspire some hope this season, this defeat still left them 10 points adrift of safety.
If, as expected, the Borussia Dortmund Under-23 coach Jan Siewert is appointed as Wagner’s permanent replacement, nobody would blame him if he spent his first day in the job preparing for a return to the second-tier Championship next season.
“It’s been a long week,” admitted Hudson.