The wicket of Dilruwan Perera, an off-spinning all-rounder who averages just 20 with the bat in Tests, would not usually be the cause of wild celebration for England’s bowlers.
But for Jack Leach this was a special wicket, one 16 years in the making as his great friend Jos Buttler snaffled the catch to stamp a combination on the scorecard that first appeared for Somerset’s Under-11s and is now forever on record at the highest level of cricket.
“I was running at him shouting ‘caught Buttler, bowled Leach. Caught Buttler, bowled Leach’” smiled the Somerset spinner, reminiscing on his delivery that slowed up on Perera, forcing him to loft it to Buttler at extra-cover.
“Those were my exact words, so that was a nice moment for me and I hope it was for him too. To be out there with him is something very special for me. It’s just brilliant.”
From Somerset’s postage-stamp ground at Taunton to picturesque Galle, where a 16th-century fort overlooks the square, it has been a long journey for these closest of friends.
“We started at Under-11s together so that would have been the first ‘caught Buttler, bowled Leach’ and then I was gutted when he had to leave Somerset.
“We’ve always talked about one day playing again with each other, hopefully for England and maybe Somerset again, I’m working on that.
“But to play together for England is very special and I think it makes us proud but also hopefully a lot of people back home proud as well.”
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