2nd Test: Joe Root century gives England upper hand vs Sri Lanka on Day 3

first_imgEngland captain Joe Root roared back to form with a classy hundred as his 15th century not only rescued England but also helped his side take an upper hand against Sri Lanka on the third day of the second Test in Pallekele on Friday.England, who lead the three-match series 1-0 after last week’s win in Galle, reached 324 for nine in their second innings at stumps, a lead of 278 on a pitch offering plenty of turn.After bowling out the hosts for 336 runs, England did not get off to an ideal start as they lost Jack Leach in the second over of the day.Keaton Jennings (26) then joined forces with Rory Burns (59) to pull things back in England’s favour with a 73-run stand for the second wicket. Jennings’s wicket brought Root to the crease. The England skipper and Burns too started a rebuilding process but the opener fell soon after completing his maiden half-century and that left England reeling at 108/3.Sri Lanka vs England 2nd Test, Day 3: Highlights | ScorecardNext man Ben Stokes fell for a duck but Jos Buttler (34) and Root added 74 for the 5th wicket to revive England. Mooen Ali (10) too failed.Wicketkeeper Ben Foakes, playing only his second Test, and Root then added 82 for the seventh wicket to dampen Sri Lanka’s hopes of restricting England’s lead to a manageable target after reducing them to 219/6 at one stage.Foakes further stretched England’s lead after the dismissal of Root for 124 and was unbeaten on 51 with James Anderson four not out when bad light and rain brought an end to the day’s play.advertisementAkila Dananjaya, who was reported for a suspect bowling action after the Galle Test but is free to play, notched up career-best figures of 6/106 but his third-five wicket haul in only his fifth Test might still prove inadequate.When play resumed in the morning, the tourists lost nightwatchman Leach for one in the third over, bringing regular openers Burns and Jennings together.While Burns looked at ease against Sri Lanka’s spinners with his nimble footwork, Jennings opted to utilise the reverse sweep to thwart the threat.Jennings’ most productive shot brought an end to his knock, the ball clipping the batsman’s glove before carrying to the slip fielder Dhananjaya de Silva for a simple catch.Burns, playing in his second Test, hit seven boundaries in his knock and was out leg before to Malinda Pushpakumara while trying to sweep the left-arm spinner. The batsman reviewed the decision but was unsuccessful.England suffered a further jolt in the next over when all-rounder Stokes also fell leg before, missing a sweep against off-spinner Dilruwan Perera.Stokes, who faced just two deliveries, also opted to go for a review but lost it.Root, who received a reprimand and one demerit point from the International Cricket Council on Thursday for a show of dissent, and Buttler looked to attack the spinners during their stand to give England the upper hand.Buttler’s entertaining knock of 34 came to a premature end when he dragged spinner Akila Dananjaya on to his stumps with an attempted reverse sweep.Moeen Ali also did not last long and was out leg before to Dananjaya, but Root appeared unmoved by the fall of wickets around him.He brought up a deserving 15th Test hundred with 10 fours and two sixes in his knock, using the sweep shot to good effect against Sri Lanka’s slow bowling attack.Root leapt for joy and punched the air after reaching the three-figure mark with a streaky boundary.Dananjaya removed Root and Sam Curran, who smashed 64 in the first innings, in consecutive deliveries and also dismissed Adil Rashid, who was unfortunate to be given out lbw as replays showed he had got an edge.(With inputs from Reuters)last_img

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