It was a bright sunny day in London and the day only became brighter thanks to an outstanding ton from Jonny Bairstow, who rescued England from a tough situation at the Lord's cricket ground against Sri Lanka on the Day 1 of the third Test on Thursday. Bairstow scored his third Test century (second in the series) in eight innings.
The pitch looked flat initially and England skipper Alastair Cook thought that batting would be easier on this deck. Therefore, after winning the toss, Cook decided to bat first.
England got off to a good start as well, with Cook and Alex Hales putting on a half-century partnership. But Sri Lanka pulled things back wonderfully.
It was Rangana Herath, who dismissed Hales with a typical outside-the-off-stump floating off-spinner. Hales edged it and Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews completed the duty at slips.
England's concern with the form of Nick Compton continued as he departed without troubling the scorers much. Compton was removed by Suranga Lakmal soon after Hales' wicket.
Lakmal added some further salt to the wounds as he dismissed Joe Root for just three runs as well. Nuwan Pradeep too joined the party as he picked up the wicket of James Vince.
Sri Lankan bowlers did a very good job as they reduced England from 56/1 to 84/4 in no time. It was at that point that Bairstow started his rescue operation.
The wicketkeeper-batsman added 80 runs in tandem with Moeen Ali, after Cook fell for a well-made 85. After Ali was dismissed by Herath in a similar fashion as Hales, Chris Woakes helped Bairstow with some valuable runs.
Bairstow (107, 164b, 13x4) kept on ticking the scoreboard and that allowed England to escape to 279 for the loss of six wickets at the end of the day's play.
However, if Sri Lanka would have grabbed the chance when Bairstow was batting on 11, the story would have been completely different. He also survived an lbw review, when he was batting on 56. But it had to be his day at the Lord's and he went on to score a brilliant hundred.
The first session of the second Day of the third Test between England and Sri Lanka is going to be crucial. On one hand, Sri Lanka will look to run through the rest of the England batting order, and on the other, England will look to take the score past 400-run-mark.
Here is the brief score of Day 1 of the third Test:
England 279 for 6 (Bairstow 107*, Woakes 23*; Lakmal 2/66, Pradeep 2/79, Herath 2/45) vs Sri Lanka.