England in Sri Lanka: Jos Buttler & Joe Root score fifties in warm-up

Buttler’s highest score in five Tests this winter was 43
Tour match, FTZ Sports Complex, Katunayake (day one of three)
England 316: Buttler 79, Root 78
Sri Lanka Cricket XI: Yet to bat

Jos Buttler and Joe Root scored half-centuries as England made 316 on day one of their opening warm-up match in Sri Lanka.

Captain Root hit 78 before Buttler, who averaged 17.50 with the bat over the winter, top-scored with 79 against a Sri Lanka Cricket XI in Katunayake.

Opener Zak Crawley made 43, with England dismissed shortly before the scheduled close of play.

England face Sri Lanka in a two-Test series starting on 19 March.

Those matches in Galle and Colombo are expected to be dominated spin, but on Saturday seven of the 10 wickets fell to seam bowling on a green pitch.

Crawley batted fluently before he was bowled by Lahiru Samarakoon, while fellow opener Dom Sibley was lbw to Kavishka Anjula for 12.

Joe Denly, who made 32, Ben Stokes and Ollie Pope fell in quick succession before Root and Buttler added 55 from 142-5.

Buttler was the more patient, hitting five fours and a six in his 159-ball innings.

The 29-year-old has not scored a Test fifty since last summer’s Ashes. His place as wicketkeeper could come under threat from Ben Foakes, who made 27 not out.

“It will have brought Jos some confidence, how well he has played today, and he’ll take that forward,” coach Chris Silverwood said.

“It’s great to see him out there doing well.”

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