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England captain falls short in pursuit of 10,000 runs milestone

England captain falls short in pursuit of 10,000 runs milestone

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Alastair Cook was thwarted in his quest this morning to become the first Englishman to reach 10,000 Test runs  as he fell to Sri Lanka debutant Dasun Shanaka.

Alastair Cook was thwarted in his quest to become the first Englishman to reach 10,000 Test runs on Thursday as he fell to Sri Lanka debutant Dasun Shanaka.

England hit unexpected trouble against third-change seamer Shanaka at Headingley as number three Nick Compton and then Joe Root also fell for ducks to leave the hosts struggling at lunch on 57 for three.

Cook was granted an early opportunity to chalk off the 36 runs he still needed for his five-figure milestone when Sri Lanka chose to bowl under cloudy skies on the first morning of the Investec Test series.

All went smoothly, if slowly too, for 90 minutes until on 16 Cook aimed a cover-drive at a wide delivery and edged behind.

AllasiterCook
Alastair Cook

That was the end of a stand of 49 with Alex Hales – and for good measure Shanaka (three for six), who had struck with his seventh delivery in Test cricket, did so again three balls later when Compton was caught low down at slip.

Most eyes were on Cook, of course, at the start of this series which will be the first subject to the points system by which the England and Wales Cricket Board has announced they will find an overall winner across all formats this summer.

His opening partner Hales was under the microscope too, though, as he seeks to establish himself at the top of the order after a patchy maiden tour of South Africa.

Hales needed 13 balls to get off the mark but did so with a reassuring boundary when he clipped Nuwan Pradeep off his pads.

He then had a minor moment of fortune when he edged a second four just wide of the slips off Shaminda Eranga to double his score.

Hales’ patience was rewarded with two fours through the off-side in the space of three balls off captain Angelo Mathews – and all continued to go well for England until Cook succumbed.

With Compton then gone in the same over, there was another shock in store for the Leeds crowd when home favourite Root departed scoreless too – edging Shanaka to gully.

England’s debutant James Vince was therefore summoned earlier than he might have anticipated to the middle, and at the ground where he made a battling hundred for Hampshire against Yorkshire last month, he at least survived the session alongside Hales.

Dhammika Prasad, the seamer who took five second-innings wickets when Sri Lanka beat England here two years ago, is highly unlikely to play any part in this three-Test series after being sent home because of the shoulder injury he suffered in the opening tour fixture at Chelmsford.

His team-mates were wearing black armbands throughout the Headingley Test as a mark of respect for those who have lost their lives and homes to the floods in Sri Lanka. (BBC)

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