Moeen bowls England to big win over Sri Lanka inside four days

Moeen bowls England to big win over Sri Lanka inside four days

England's Moeen Ali, center, celebrates the dismissal of Sri Lanka's Niroshan Dickwella with team mates during the fourth day of the first test cricket match between Sri Lanka and England in Galle, Sri Lanka, Friday, Nov. 9, 2018.

Even Angelo Mathews could easily have fallen for a trap that England set for him early in his innings, when he pulled a short ball from Ben Stokes to the midwicket fielder, but he earned a reprieve as he was dropped by James Anderson. Mathews had made his second half-century from the game, confirming his status as his side's premier batsman.

The hosts were 98 for three at lunch, left needing a highly improbable world record chase of 462 or to bat for five more sessions for a draw.

England would have hoped for more assistance from a pitch which was expected to offer elaborate turn, but instead settled for some intemperate batting to help their cause.

Kaushal Silva and Dimuth Karunaratne were dismissed by spinners soon after the drinks break, with Kaushal leg before to Jack Leach for 30 and Karunaratne caught and bowled by fellow spinner Moeen Ali for 26.

Chandimal, suffering from a groin injury that kept him off the pitch all of Thursday, was bowled by Leach for 11.

"I suppose all you can do is try to score runs when you get the opportunity", he told Sky Sports after just his second Test century, following a debut ton against India in 2016.

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England leads the three-match series 1-0. England hadn't won four previous tests here.

They struck regularly throughout the day, and though Sri Lanka's batting performance was an improvement on their first innings effort, England were never unduly troubled.

"It's been a very special day for me personally and it's special to be in such a good position in this Test match, hopefully we can go on and win it".

"I have only watched Keaton Jennings live in two test matches and he has got a hundred in both I must be his lucky charm!", former England great Allan Lamb said on Twitter. An LBW appeal when Jennings was on 58 was turned down and Sri Lanka chose - erroneously it turned out - not to review. 'We can go to Kandy with huge amounts of confidence and look to still improve and get better'.

Sri Lanka´s spin bowling coach Piyal Wijetunge said however that the hosts still have a chance to win, in part because the notorious Galle wicket is behaving differently this time.

Herath retired from worldwide cricket as one of the most successful Lankan bowlers in Tests after Muttiah Muralitharan who scalped 800 wickets.