Root Leads England Recovery
England 344-5 (Root 102no) v Sri Lanka
First Test, Lord's, day one
Joe Root celebrated his return to the England side with an unbeaten century to lead the home side's recovery from a poor start to day one of the first Test against Sri Lanka at Lord's.
England were 120 for four in the afternoon when Ian Bell fell for 56 but runs for Moeen Ali (48) and then an unbeaten 135-run partnership between Root, not out on 102, and Matthew Prior, not out on 76 saw the home side to stumps on 344 for five.
Sri Lanka opted to bowl against an England side with three debutants - Sam Robson and Chris Jordan joining Moeen - but were unable to press home their early advantage.
Robson lasted just seven balls, getting off the mark but no further before edging Nuwan Pradeep to wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardene for one.
Rewards For Moeen Ali
If making your Test debut and scoring a fluent 48 runs wasn't enough of a good day for Moeen Ali, he has also been handed an increment contract by the England & Wales Cricket Board.
By playing three One-Day Internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals against the West Indies, four times in the ICC World Twenty20 and this Test, he has earned the requisite amount of points to be given a contract.
The contracts are awarded once a player gains 20 points - a Test cap is worth five points and a limited overs appearance two points.
At the other end, Alastair Cook hit a brace of fours on the way to 17 in 26 balls before he chopped Nuwan Kulasekara onto his stumps.
Gary Ballance (23) and Bell then consolidated for a time before England's new number three - Ballance - drove at Pradeep and was caught by Jayawardene as England slipped to 74 for three and Sri Lanka looked to be justifying captain Angelo Mathews' decision.
Bell, however, played fluently, making 56 in 75 balls with seven fours and one six and his dismissal came as something of a surprise when he was trapped in front by Shaminda Eranga. Initially, the appeal was turned down but an excellent decision to review by Sri Lanka sent him on his way.
Despite the precarious situation, Moeen also played fluently, quickly settling and going on to hit 48 in 98 balls with six fours and he also hit Rangana Herath for six over long-off.
Like Ballance and Robson before him, however, he flashed at a wide delivery and was caught behind, this time by Mahela Jayawardene at slip as his 91-run stand with Root came to an end.
That brought Prior to the crease and after surviving a leg-before appeal from Herath before he had got off the mark, he began to play the sort of cricket that made him an automatic pick prior to being dropped in Australia.
Busy at the crease, pushing the fielders hard and quick to punish anything short and wide, he struck nine fours to help Root continue the recovery.
The Yorkshireman played superbly well, hitting eight fours in 190 balls as he made a third Test century and a second at Lord's as he too began to put a torrid winter at the hands of Australia behind him.
Pradeep finished the day with figures of two for 67, Kulasekara one for 61, Eranga one for 86 and Herath one for 68 while Mathews (0-39) and Lahiru Thirimanne (0-7) were the other bowlers used.
Early on, this threatened to be Sri Lanka's day but Bell, Root and Prior ensured that by the close, it was the England fans and players who were the happier, given that they can be expected to pass 400 in the first innings of a Test for the first time since March 2013.
© Cricket World 2014