Joe Root the rock as England frustrate Sri Lanka in second Test
Tired captain torments the hosts with a fine 186 as England, still 42 behind, try to wipe out the deficit with their last batsmen at the crease today
Joe Root became the first England batsman to score more than 150 in consecutive Tests in 16 years as he tormented Sri Lanka and led his side to 339/9 in their first innings at the close of play on day three of the second and final Test in Galle.
However, the tired and cramping England captain was dismissed in the final over of the day for 186, run out after clipping the ball to short leg Oshada Fernando. Root’s weariness did not allow him to get back into his crease, having pushed forward after playing the stroke.
England still trail by 42 runs and will seek to wipe out the deficit with Jack Leach and James Anderson at the crease on the fourth morning, though Sri Lanka spinner Lasith Embuldeniya has been excellent with career best figures of 7/132.
Root followed up his 228 in the first Test to match the feat of Marcus Trescothick, who scored 194 and 151 in consecutive Tests against Bangladesh in 2005.
Root’s innings was again built around the impressive use of the sweep shot which he has waged to take the attack to the Sri Lanka bowlers. He had failed to score a Test century in 2020, the first time in his career he went a calendar year without a ton, and his return to form will be welcome as England head into four Tests in India straight after this series.
The tourists resumed the day on 98/2 having lost their openers cheaply for the third time in as many innings in this series. Jonny Bairstow never looked settled and fell on 28, an inside edge onto his pad off the dangerous Embuldeniya looping to Fernando at short leg.
Dan Lawrence was impressive on his debut in England’s seven-wicket win in the first Test but made just three as he edged Embuldeniya to Lahiru Thirimanne at slip.
At 132/4, England were teetering, but Root and Jos Buttler (55) steadied the ship with a fifth-wicket stand of 97 before the latter tried a reverse sweep that went straight into his boot and bounced to short leg, providing a first Test wicket for debutant spinner Ramesh Mendis.
Sam Curran (13) was out in the final over of the afternoon session, caught at slip, before Dom Bess (32) put on a vital 81 with Root for the seventh wicket.
Bess and Mark Wood (1) were both also caught at slip by Thirimanne off Embuldeniya, the first time a Sri Lanka fielder had taken five catches in an innings.
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