England spinner Dom Bess admits he was lucky to take five wickets against Sri Lanka

England spinner Dom Bess admits he will ‘bowl 10 times better and not take any’ after his five-wicket haul against Sri Lanka on day one, but insists: ‘That’s cricket… you have to take it’

  • England bowled out Sri Lanka for just 135 on day one of the first Test in Galle
  • Dom Bess took an unlikely five-wicket haul despite being nowhere near his best
  • The England spinner knows he will bowl better but not get the rewards in future

Dom Bess took one of the most fortuitous five-wicket hauls in Test history on Thursday but insisted: ‘You can’t take it away from me.’

Yorkshire off-spinner Bess left the picturesque ground in Galle with the match ball after haphazard Sri Lanka were skittled for 135 on the opening day of England’s latest biosecure series.

His quintet of successes included two from reverse sweeps, a filthy long hop that was looped to point and a catch that ricocheted to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler off the ankle of Jonny Bairstow, taking evasive action at short leg.

Dom Bess is congratulated by Dom Sibley after taking one his five wickets on day one

Dom Bess is congratulated by Dom Sibley after taking one his five wickets on day one

‘It’s a proud moment because I have five wickets for England and no one can take that away from me,’ Bess said, after claiming figures of five for 30.

‘I certainly know I didn’t bowl as well as I could have done, and got away with one or two, but that’s cricket.

‘You are going to bowl good balls that get hit out of the park, or get dropped, so I think you have to take it.

‘There will be days in India or here when I will bowl 10 times better and not take any poles. It’s about the outcome.

‘And we bowled extremely well as a group. Stuart Broad and Sam Curran set the tone up front, we created 12 opportunities and took 10, so our confidence is certainly going to build as a result.’

England stars had to celebrate in low key fashion as Covid protocols forbid them from hugging

England stars had to celebrate in low key fashion as Covid protocols forbid them from hugging

This is the first time that Bess has played alongside Jack Leach for England and Bess conceded that not being able to hug his great friend and former Somerset spin partner when the wickets were falling due to the Covid protocols in place was a challenge.

But it was smiles and high-fives all round by the close as captain Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow took the tourists to within eight runs of parity.

‘Leachy and I certainly know how good our batters are when we bowl at them in the nets, and the way they went about things was quality,’ added Bess. ‘They were very calm-mannered in setting the platform.’

In contrast, Sri Lanka assistant coach Grant Flower lambasted his side’s display, which began with three new-ball losses to seamer Broad.

He said: ‘I’m at a loss for words. I’ve never seen us bat that badly before.

‘Our players know these conditions well and it should have been a big advantage. Every one of them must share the blame.’

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