Pictures: AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena

ENGLAND debutant and former Frinton cricketer Ben Foakes is closing in on a century at the end of the first day of the opening Test in Sri Lanka.

The Colchester-born wicketkeeper finished on 87 not out, with England on 321 for eight in Galle.

Foakes marked his first Test in style with a half-century from 111 balls.

He tucked a single away off his pads to help England bring up 200.

They had earlier been 103 for five when Foakes came to the crease in the morning session.

But the 25-year-old led the recovery and shared a partnership of 54 with the attacking Adil Rashid (35 off 38 balls).

Foakes became the fourth wicketkeeper in a row to score a half-century on debut for England.

Matt Prior was the first, then Tim Ambrose and Jos Buttler.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Speaking earlier on the BBC's Test Match Special, England legend Alec Stewart said: "Ben has a great temperament and understands his own game.

"He is the best keeper about but people forget he is a very good batsman indeed.

"He looks comfortable at Test level already."

Former Essex man Foakes, now with county champions Surrey, also had spells with Colchester and East Essex Cricket Club and Clacton Cricket Club.

He is a former student at Tendring Technology College.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: