The wicketkeeper-batsman slammed an unbeaten 87 in his maiden Test innings to dig England out of a hole on the opening day as the tourists posted 321-8 before stumps were drawn.
The morning session had belonged to the Sri Lankans after England skipper Joe Root won the toss and elected to bat first.
England debutant Rory Burns and Moeen Ali fell to Sri Lanka pacer Suranga Lakmal in the morning off consecutive deliveries as the visitors slumped to 10-2. Burns’ opening partner Keaton Jennings and Root then put on an 88-run stand for the third wicket before the England skipper became Rangana Herath’s 100th Test dismissal at Galle.
The retiring Sri Lankan veteran spinner did not have it all his way in the remainder of the day with Akila Dananjaya failing to impose himself with the ball too.
It was Dilruwan Perera who was Sri Lanka’s most effective spinner on the day with a four-wicket haul.
The off-spinner bowled Jennings through his gates with the England opener falling short of his half-century by four runs. Perera then bowled star all-rounder Ben Stokes around his legs at the stroke of lunch with the visitors reduced to 103-5.
From then on, it was the Foakes’ show with the debutant stitching consecutive half-century stands with Jos Buttler, Sam Curran and Adil Rashid.
Buttler became Perera’s third victim of the day after edging a delivery behind to Niroshan Dickwella while Curran fell on 48 to Dananjaya.
Rashid was the last England batsman to fall on the day with the leg-spinner edging a Perera delivery into the hands of Dhananjaya de Silva at slip.
Foakes, though, remained unconquered as he put the visitors in a position of strength after an eventful opening day at the Galle International Stadium. The 25-year-old struck six boundaries in his unbeaten 187-ball vigil at the crease and will look to notch a special ton on debut when play resumes on Wednesday.
BRIEF SCORES DAY 1
England: 321-8 (91 overs)
Ben Foakes – 87no
Sam Curran – 48
Dilruwan Perera: 4-70
Provided by Press Association Sport
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