England spinners, Stokes dent Sri Lanka top order

What was Dhananjaya de Silva thinking? Pic Fox SportsMore

What was Dhananjaya de Silva thinking? Pic Fox SportsMore

The hosts, chasing a notional 462 victory in the first match of a three-Test series, could only muster 250 on day four, with Jack Leach taking three wickets to go with Ali's four, with Adil Rashid and Ben Stokes getting one each.

Instead, Moeen starred as his 4-70 took his match figures to 8-137 and secured England's first away Test victory since triumphing in Bangladesh in October 2016.

The second match of the three-test series is in Kandy, starting on Wednesday, before the final contest in Colombo from November 23. 'We can go to Kandy with huge amounts of confidence and look to still improve and get better'.

The visitors declared at 322 for six on day three with Jennings 146 not out after a patient innings that saw the under-pressure opener deal deftly with the hosts´ spin attack.

The final result might have seemed nearly inevitable at the start of play, with Sri Lanka pursuing a world record chase of 462 or the equally unlikely prospect of batting two full days for a draw, but the scale of the achievement should not be underplayed. If he is not 100 percent fit, he may not play.

"Our batting was below-par during the game, you can't stay in the game (with this kind of batting)", Sri Lanka's captain Dinesh Chandimal said. We have 22 million people in Sri Lanka so very few people get these opportunities and that is a remarkable achievement and an honour for any player.

Several Sri Lanka batsmen made starts and appeared confident at the crease in both innings, before a loose stroke brought about their dismissal. We had a really good start in the first session but we couldn't capitalise on it, ' he said.

Whenever you win somewhere overseas for the first time it is always very special - but before this game nobody expected England would triumph here because they had had virtually no preparation.

Kaushal was leg before sweeping Leach for 30 and Karunaratne skipped down the pitch and was caught and bowled by Ali for 26. One ball after Dhanajaya de Silva successfully overturned a caught behind decision Stokes tightened up his line and took an indisputable edge that nestled safely in the hands of Joe Root.

He didn't field during England's second innings on Thursday, and batted in pain for scores of 33 and 1.

Angelo Mathews (53 off 92 balls) and Kusal Mendis (45 off 77) added 46 for the fourth wicket as the last real form of resistance, with Mathews surviving until the 69th over, when he was caught by Jos Buttler off Moeen Ali to leave Sri Lanka on 190-6.

England wicketkeeper Ben Foakes was named Man of the Match after scoring a century in his maiden Test innings, which could leave the tourists with a selection headache of their own.

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