England, riding on the back of a stupendous double-hundred by their skipper Joe Root (228 off 321 balls) and a brilliant bowling effort-especially in the first innings-have notched up their fourth consecutive Test win in Sri Lanka after they beat the home side by seven wickets in Galle on Monday. And, in the process, they have also gained 6o ICC World Test Championship points.
Needing just 74 to win in the fourth innings, England had a nervy start as they lost their three top-order wickets including the prized scalp of Joe Root for just 14 runs at the fag end of the fourth day.
However, Jonny Bairstow (35*) and Dan Lawrence’s unbeaten 52-ball 21 ensured that there were no further jitters as the duo guided the tourists home on the fifth morning.
The win was, however, set-up by a brilliant bowling performance by England and some pretty poor display of Test match batting by Sri Lanka in the first innings that saw the hosts get bundled out for a mere 135 on the first day.
The writing was on the wall the moment Lanka was knocked over for 135 and the final nail in the coffin was laid by champion batsman Joe Root, who guided his team to a 286-run-lead thanks to his masterly double-ton.
Sri Lanka gave a better account of themselves in the second innings as they ensured that they did not lose by an innings thanks to a brilliant hundred by Lahiru Thiramanne and half-centuries from Kusal Mendis and Angelo Matthews.
However, thanks to a five-wicket haul by Jack Leach, they could only manage 359 runs, meaning that England needed just 74 to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series, which despite the initial hiccup, they did with ease.
As a result, England have gained 60 crucial ICC World Test Championship points, taking their overall points tally to 352 out of a total contested 540 points. Their percentage points have shot up to 65.2 but that is still not enough for them to leapfrog either New Zealand (70), India (70.2), and Australia (73.8), meaning that Joe Root’s men continue to occupy the 4th spot in the table.
Here’s a look at the ICC World Test Championship table: