Keaton Jennings kickstarted his England career with a diligent, unbeaten century against Sri Lanka, helping his side establish an impregnable position in the first Test at Galle.
Jennings was considered fortunate to retain his place after a torrid summer but mined all his reserves of resilience to make 146 not out in 280 balls, anchoring an innings of 322 for six declared for more than six hours and leaving the home side chasing a world record 462.
They successfully negotiated seven overs for 15 without loss by stumps but the examination has two full days to run, regional weather systems allowing.
Jennings’ second Test ton was neither pretty nor dynamic – and offered no clues about how he might reverse his struggles on seaming decks at home – but it was a study in concentration, the kind of effort England might have feared had headed for retirement with Alastair Cook.
The left-hander rarely came out of his shell en route to three figures, scoring 59 of his first hundred in singles and relying on a steady diet of reverse sweeps and watchful pushes.
He offered only one chance on 58, when he would have been lbw on review had Sri Lanka not been dissuaded by the sound of bat on ball. Replays suggested that came after contact with the bat and showed the ball knocking over middle stump, but by then the moment had passed.
Jennings had seven partners in total, Ben Stokes the most productive with a bustling 62, while Ben Foakes’ late cameo saw him clearing the ropes three times – showing off yet another string to his bow on his remarkable debut. If Jonny Bairstow does return to fitness in Kandy next week, Foakes will surely not be the one to make way.
England started the day 177 in front and fought out a roughly even morning session, adding 73 for three wickets.
Jennings gritted his teeth and held his end up, happy to nudge his side towards a winning position rather than attempt anything outside of his comfort zone.
It brought him a modest 34 runs in the two hours to lunch, with a solitary boundary, but also saw him outlast three partners.
Rory Burns was the first, run out by Dimuth Karunaratne chasing an eager single after getting tied down by spin.
Following a soft dismissal for nine in his maiden knock he will perhaps see his maiden Test as a missed opportunity, though there should be plenty more to come.
Moeen Ali avoided a pair but did not linger, desperately hacking Dilruwan Perera to mid-on for three attempting to up the ante. His latest ill-starred experiment at number three has been a bust and someone else must be forced to shoulder the burden next time around.
Joe Root was the key wicket and retiring hero Rangana Herath claimed it for the second time in the match, gripping the surface and taking the edge as the captain pushed forward.
Jennings had probably earned a slice of luck and it came when Sri Lanka declined to refer Dhananjaya de Silva’s sound lbw appeal just before the break.
England took full control there after, adding 101 for one between lunch and tea and 110 for two in the evening, before declaring.
Stokes was first to put his foot down, strolling through the gears and lofting three sixes with punishing force.
He briefly threatened to overtake his partner, who was sticking steadfastly to his chosen method. Perera ensured that would not be the case, pitching one outside leg and clipping the top of off as Stokes tried and failed to cover the spin.
Jennings played out five balls on 98 before tea but the wait did not knock him off his groove and he safely strolled through for two more runs after play resumed.
The remainder of the innings was a procession against a weary fielding unit, Jennings adding his next 46 runs at a relative canter alongside Jos Buttler (35) and Foakes (37).
Provided by Press Association Sport
India captain Virat Kohli has provoked a social media storm after telling a critic to leave the country for criticising his batting.
Kohli told the Indian fan to “go and live somewhere else” in a video on his newly-launched personal app, in which he responded to comments from the public.
The fan had said Kohli was “overrated” and less enjoyable to watch than his English and Australian counterparts, prompting a frosty response.
“Why are you living in our country and loving other countries? I don’t mind you not liking me but I don’t think you should live in our country and like other things. Get your priorities right.”
His outburst prompted a backlash on social media from cricket lovers across India.
“Virat Kohli’s statement is a reflection of the bubble that most famous people either slip into or are forced into,” wrote prominent cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle on Twitter.
“Kohli is highly arrogant and that is one trait which is his Achilles heel,” tweeted another user.
Keaton Jennings dug deep as England stretched their lead over Sri Lanka to 250 in the first Test at Galle.
Jennings batted throughout the third morning for 60 not out – his first half-century since his second Test almost two years ago – as the tourists reached 111 for three by lunch.
The left-hander was considered fortunate to hang on to his place after a troubled summer, but, having already made 46 in the first innings, he has repaid the selectors’ faith with reserves of concentration and character.
England scored 73 runs for three wickets in the session, scoring just two boundaries as they favoured hard work and hard running over exuberant strokeplay.
Sri Lanka made some inroads as they scrapped for a foothold, Rory Burns (23), Moeen Ali and Joe Root (both three) all falling in vastly different circumstances.
Burns, having already survived a close DRS referral, was first to go, run out for 23 by Dimuth Karunaratne.
His eagerness to dash through after tapping the ball into the onside perhaps betrayed a growing frustration and, following a soft dismissal for nine in his maiden knock, he will perhaps see his Test debut as a missed opportunity.
Moeen avoided a pair but did not linger, desperately hacking Dilruwan Perera to mid-on attempting to up the ante.
Root was the key wicket and retiring hero Rangana Herath claimed it for the second time in the match, gripping the surface and taking the edge as the captain pushed forward.
Jennings had a slice of luck late in the session, surviving an lbw shout that would have been given out on review had one been called.
Provided by Press Association Sport