x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

England bowlers skittle Sri Lanka to reach innings victory in Cardiff

Andrew Strauss, the England captain, hailed his bowling attack after they guided England to an improbable innings win over Sri Lanka.

Andrew Strauss, the England captain, hailed his bowling attack after they guided England to an improbable innings win over Sri Lanka yesterday.

With rain having affected the first Test in Cardiff, a result was not expected when play started at 3pm local time, with two innings yet to be completed.

But England declared as soon as Ian Bell reached his 13th Test century, and then Graeme Swann (four for 16 runs) and Chris Tremlett (four for 40) skittled out the tourists for 82, setting up a win by an innings and 14 runs.

The Sri Lankan second innings did not last even two hours, and Strauss told Sky Sports 2 afterwards: "I don't think any of us thought it was hugely possible to get this result, but we knew we could have 50 overs to apply some pressure.

"There was some outstanding bowling from Chris Tremlett with the new ball, Stuart Broad as well, with Graeme Swann backing them up. We were on the receiving end of a similar result in Adelaide four years ago, and you can never relax in this game.

"We got some early wickets and then we went on."

Jonathan Trott, whose double-hundred means he is behind only the great Sir Donald Bradman on the all-time Test batting averages, was named man of the match.

"I don't get bored of batting," he said. "It's something I work hard on and to play in this team is fantastic.

"I don't pay attention to my average, I just want to contribute to the team. You work really hard to be at the top of your game and it's been great in the last couple of months."

Bell conceded that he might not have had the chance to make his hundred had a team decision gone another way.

"We spoke about going straight out with the ball but luckily for me we decided to bat," he said.

"In hindsight we had plenty of time. To watch the guys bowl was great, and if we can bowl like that for the rest of the summer we'll do well. We're confident and being part of things is great. It was great as the wickets went down. The belief we have is growing all the time and it showed today. It was incredible what the bowlers did."

The Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan said: "I'm really disappointed. We have to forget about it now, and regroup and play some good cricket at Lord's."

He expects to have bowler Dilhara Fernando back after injury, adding: "He is fine and bowling in the nets."