Moeen Ali said he owed England a big score after his Test- best 155 not out helped England secure a seriesclinching
win over Sri Lanka.
Ali’s innings was at the heart of England’s
commanding 498 for 9 declared on the second day of the second Test at the Riverside. The allrounder shared valuable partnerships of 92 for the seventh wicket and 72 for the ninth with Chris Woakes and Steven Finn respectively.
Ali made his name as a top-order
batsman with Worcestershire, but has been deployed primarily as an offspinner by England, often batting at eight. However, this match saw him promoted to seven in the absence of injured Ben Stokes.
Moeen seized the opportunity, scoring his second century in 25 Tests, following his unbeaten 108 against Sri Lanka in a losing cause at Headingley two years ago.
“I think it’s about time as I felt like I owe the team some runs,” Ali said. “Once I got in I started to time the ball well, although I struggled early on.
“I’d not really spent much time in the middle and sometimes it makes it difficult to get your batting head on. But I was just told to go and play my game, how I do at Worcester, and I tried to do that. I’ve tried to tighten up a bit, but if I see the shot I’ll go for it.”
Alastair Cook became the first English- man to reach 10,000 test runs in the emphaticnine-wicket
win on Monday (30).
Cook scored 47 not out as England eased to their target of 79 af- ter Dinesh Chandimal made a fine century to lift Sri Lanka to 475 in their second innings on the fourth day.
Having been bowled out for 101 first time round, however, the tourists only delayed the inevitable and England took an unas- sailable2-0
lead in thethree-match
series with a day to spare.
Sri Lanka had resumed on 309-5
but were eventually bowled out for 475, thanks to Chandimal’s defiant knock on 126.
One lone highlight for Sri Lanka last Saturday (28) was when Rangana Herath took his 300th Test wicket.
spinner became just the third Sri Lankan to achieve the feat after Muttiah Muralitharan (800 Test wickets) and left-arm
seamer Chaminda Vaas (355).
“It’s a big achievement taking 300 Test wickets,” said Herath, who reached the land- mark when he caught and bowled Finn.