Home side recovers from 84 for 4 to finish day one of final Test against Sri Lanka at 279 for 6
Jonny Bairstow (107 not out) was England's saviour, hitting a steely century on the first day of the third Test against Sri Lanka at Lord's on Thursday (June 9).
At close of play, the home side was 279 for 6, having recovered from 84 for 4 when Bairstow strode to the crease.
It wasn't the first time Bairstow was coming to England's rescue this series. In the first Test, England was reduced to 83 for 5 before he carved 140 on his Headingley home ground to help the side win by an innings and 88 runs.
But the script could have gone very differently this time around had Bairstow been caught on 11 when he clipped Nuwan Pradeep firmly off his pads straight to mid-wicket. Shaminda Eranga couldn't hold on and the No. 6 batsman went on to make a maiden century at Lord's.
Bairstow aside, only Alastair Cook (85), who opted to bat in conditions ideal for batting, went past fifty on Thursday, with Chris Woakes unbeaten on 23 at stumps. Suranga Lakmal and Nuwan grabbed four wickets between themselves while Rangana Herath finished with figures of 2 for 45 in 21 overs.
The match began with some fanfare as Cook was presented with a commemorative bat before play to mark his achievement in becoming the first England batsman to score 10,000 Test runs. He reached the milestone during the second Test at the Riverside, where England went on to seal a series victory by taking an unassailable 2-0 lead.
Cook continued the good work at Lord's, stitching together a 50-run stand with Alex Hales, the first half-century opening stand in the series for both teams combined. It was Herath who provided the breakthrough, having Hales (18) slogging across the line of a ball that turned to be caught by Angelo Mathews at slip.
Lakmal then felled Nick Compton for 1 with an away-swinger before trapping Joe Root (3) lbw. And when Pradeep dismissed James Vince for 10, England was in a bit of bother at 84 for 4 -- the fifth instance in its last seven Test innings it had lost four wickets before reaching 100.
Cook and Bairstow steadied the innings, but just as the England captain looked set to bring up his 29th Test century, he was out lbw to Pradeep, bowling from around the wicket. Cook faced 173 balls, hitting nine fours.
Moeen Ali, fresh from his unbeaten 155 at the Riverside, could only contribute 25 this time around, but Bairstow was looking in ominous touch, cutting Pradeep for four to move to 94.
He then equalled his previous Test-best at Lord's of 95, made against South Africa in 2012, before a single off Herath got him to his third Test hundred and his name on the Lord's honour board.
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