Rangana Herath took 12 wickets as Sri Lanka beat top-ranked England by 75 runs in their series- opening cricket Test.
England was bowled out for 264 in the last session, losing its last 6 wickets for 31 runs as it tried to chase down a team- record 340 to win in Galle. Its previous highest winning fourth- innings total in a Test was 332 in 1928 against Australia in Melbourne. Herath took 6 wickets in the second innings, and had more than 10 in a Test for the first time.
The victory puts Sri Lanka 1-0 up in the best-of-two contest as the home team seeks a first elite series win since beating New Zealand in August 2009. The second Test starts April 3 in Colombo. It was the host’s first home Test victory since the 2010 retirement of Muttiah Muralitharan, the sport’s record wicket taker.
“It’s been a tough period for us to try to get things right, but the boys have worked really hard,” Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said.
England’s defeat was its fourth straight in away Tests following a 3-0 sweep of losses against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates. It last won a Test series on the road against Asian teams other then bottom-ranked Bangladesh in 2001, when it won 2-1 in Sri Lanka.
England was bowled out for 193 runs in its first innings, and dropped catches that may have lowered its run chase.
“In truth, we made too many mistakes in the game,” Captain Andrew Strauss said. “In between the mistakes, we played hard. We left ourselves with too much to do, especially because of our batting in the first innings.”
England, which resumed at 111-2 on day four, lost Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell in the morning session to the spin bowling of Herath and Suraj Randiv, who took 4 wickets in the innings. Jonathan Trott hit 112 before being caught off Randiv. The batsman combined with Matt Prior for 81 runs before the wicketkeeper was caught off Herath.
England, which has now scored 300 runs or more only once in its past eight innings, had been chasing what would have been a ground-record score batting fourth in Galle. The biggest fourth- innings total in 18 previous Tests in the port city was Sri Lanka’s 253 in a loss against Australia last year, while the home team’s 96-0 against India in 2010 was the highest winning score.
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