5 things we learned from England's first test victory over Sri Lanka


After England's innings trouncing of Sri Lanka in the first Investec Test,  here's what Headingley taught us...

1. Ducks under cloud cover

Rain covers on at Headingley as rain stops play during day three of the 1st Investec Test at Headingley, Leeds.
(Nigel French/PA)

There were eight, in fact, among the 30 wickets to fall - plenty, even by Leeds standards, and including two of England's top four and two of Sri Lanka's top three in the first innings. When the clouds roll in at Headingley, batting against high-class seam and swing is devilishly difficult - as both teams demonstrated.

2. Anderson's still got it

England's James Anderson (left) celebrates after taking the wicket of Sri Lanka's Kaushal Silva during day three of the 1st Investec Test at Headingley, Leeds (Nigel French/PA)
(Nigel French/PA)

Conditions may have been in his favour, but James Anderson did not disappoint this time at a venue where he curiously so often has in the past. England's leading wicket-taker had one or two doubters during the winter - not least opponents who appeared to question if his nip was still there. At Headingley, though, not only did he expertly exploit what was on offer but he did so in the mid-80s mph as well. It was all too much for Sri Lanka.

3. Bairstow on a different level with the bat

England's Jonny Bairstow during day two of the 1st Investec Test at Headingley, Leeds (Mike Egerton/PA)
(Mike Egerton/PA)

Jonny Bairstow has been a revelation in front of the stumps for club and country over the past 12 months. For Yorkshire, he has very often looked a class apart - and regularly bailed them out of trouble after the loss of early wickets.

This time, he did both those things for England too. Nine catches for the wicketkeeper as well, after his first Test hundred on home soil, added up to the match of a lifetime. He insists he is still a work in progress, and is probably right about that with the gloves. It is hard to see how he can bat much better, though, than he currently is.

4. England are world-beaters - in England

England's James Anderson (third left) celebrates after taking the wicket of Dimuth Karunaratne during day three of the 1st Investec Test at Headingley, Leeds
(Nigel French/PA)

In the exaggerated home conditions which prevailed this week, Alastair Cook's team are hard to match. Anderson and Bairstow were the stars this time, while Alex Hales proved he has the nous and determination to provide a lasting partner at last for the captain at the top of the order. Other regulars had quiet games, and Ben Stokes ended up with a worrying knee injury, but England were still far too good and had the job done in under two days of actual playing time.

5. Sri Lanka's struggle set to continue

(Simon Cooper/PA)
(Simon Cooper/PA)

Angelo Mathews was spooked even before the Investec series began about how his young batting line-up might deal with Anderson and world number one bowler Stuart Broad if the early-season swing and seam came to pass. He was right to be worried, and may privately be fearing more to come in Durham by the end of the week. If the clouds roll in again, it will be another huge challenge. Sri Lanka's best chance of being competitive will surely not come till the third and final Test at Lord's.