England century was meant to be - Foakes

England debutant Ben Foakes enjoyed a day to remember in the first Test with Sri Lanka, his century firing the tourist towards victory.

England star Ben Foakes   -  Getty Images

Ben Foakes believes his debut Test century for England was "meant to be" as he led the tourist to a commanding lead in Sri Lanka.

Playing his first innings in the longest format, Foakes built on a strong first day to reach three figures on Wednesday, finally departing for 107 to Suranga Lakmal.

That dismissal came in a hectic 97th over where three fours took Foakes to a first Test ton, with a sense of relief greeting the milestone that inspired England towards a 177-run advantage come the end of day two.

"I was pretty calm this morning with Leachy [Jack Leach] there, then I think there was five [runs] to go with Jimmy [James Anderson] and I got a bit nervous! He nicked one just short and I guess it was meant to be my day. It was just amazing to get it" Foakes told Sky Sports.

READ: Foakes, spinners put England on top in first Sri Lanka Test

"I felt like I had it, I had enough. I saw Herath running around and it didn't look like he was going to get there. Jimmy had stopped running and I wasn't sure it was going to go for four - I thought I was going to get run out. It was just such a relief, a great feeling."

Foakes soon combined with James Anderson again, catching to dismiss Dimuth Karunaratne and settle into his role as a Test wicketkeeper.

"Getting a few runs settled me down, but getting in the game early as a keeper is awesome. With Jimmy bowling, you know you're in the game. To get the first one out was great," Foakes added.