England’s Dom Bess took a five-wicket haul on the first day of the opening Test against Sri Lanka despite feeling he was underprepared for the contest and did not bowl his best.
Bess’s 5/30 off 10.1 overs saw the hosts crumble to 135 after they won the toss on Thursday, elected to bat and allowed England to take command as the tourists replied with 127/2 at stumps.
Bess, one of two spinners selected by England for the turning wicket at the Galle International Stadium, said he did not bowl as much as he would have liked in the preparations after arriving in Sri Lanka and admitted there was an element of fortune to his haul.
No much more so than when a sweep shot from Dasun Shanaka hit Jonny Bairstow at short leg on the ankle and popped up for wicketkeeper Jos Buttler to catch.
“It was bizarre. You want guys getting caught at short leg by Jonny rather than hitting him, caught Buttler, but at the end of the day a wicket is a wicket,” Bess told a news conference.
“I know that I haven’t bowled as well as I could have done and got away with probably one or two, but that’s cricket.”
Bess took a wicket with his second ball as the dangerous Kusal Perera attempted a brazen reverse sweep only to top edge the ball and be caught by captain Joe Root.
A long hop from the 23-year-old also accounted for Niroshan Dickwella, another home batsman guilty of poor shot selection in a disappointing batting performance.
“Those were not among my best deliveries but then again, I’ve also bowled very well on days and haven’t taken any poles ... and dropped catches,” said Bess.
“That’s just how it goes and I’m the fortunate one who has taken five wickets. You have to take it when it comes. But I know I can bowl better.”
Bess added that the five-wicket haul would be a confidence booster. “Obviously it’s a proud moment because I’ve taken five wickets for England and no-one can take that away from me.”
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