England are in a great position to win the first match in their 2 match test series against Sri Lanka at the Galle International Stadium after setting up a target of 462 runs for Sri Lanka. England ended day 2 with both the openers Keaton Jennings and Rory Burns batting at a score of 38 runs.
Day 3 started in the same style. Both Burns and Jennings decided to take minimal risks and keep the batting innings ticking. However, a brilliant piece of fielding from Dimuth Karunaratne inflicted the run out of Burns and broke 60 run stand. Moeen Ali failed with the bat once again. He was dismissed by Dilruwan Perera for just 3 runs.
Captain Joe Root became Rangana Herath’s bunny for the second time in the test. Herath picked up Root for 3 runs and put England in an uncomfortable position with 74 runs for the loss of 3 wickets. But Keaton didn’t lose his concentration despite losing partners at the other end. Ben Stokes was finally able to bring the conditions under control for the visitors. He looked to rotate the strike with Jennings and didn’t allow the Sri Lankan spinners to dominate.
Stokes, at regular intervals, looked to hit the ball for boundaries. Both Jennings and Stokes completed their half-centuries to put on an impressive partnership. A beauty from Dilruwan Perera was finally successful in breaking the 101 runs partnership as he cleaned up Stokes for 62 runs. Jos Buttler was positive in his batting approach and provided the much-needed support to Jennings.
Jennings reached to his second test century just after tea as he received a thunderous applause from the English supporters and the dressing room. It was now time for the English batsmen to up the ante. Herath picked up Buttler for 35 runs. Centurian in the first innings, Ben Foakes came out to bat. He looked to be aggressive and take on the charge to the bowlers from the beginning. He hit one four and 3 sixes before being dismissed for 37. His dismissal instigated Root to declare the innings for 322 runs, thus setting up a target of 462 runs for the host. Jennings ended the innings with an unbeaten 146.
Openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva have looked solid till now for the hosts as they ended the day with 15 runs without losing any wicket. But they are still 447 runs away from the target. England have the match firmly in their hands. Sri Lanka would be hoping that the rain Gods bestow them with their presence as they seek to start a herculean effort to save the test and avoid going 1-0 down in the series.
England 1st innings: 342-10(97 o.)
Ben Foakes: 107
Sam Curran: 48
Dilruwan Perera: 31-6-75-5
Sri Lanka 1st innings: 203-10(68 o.)
Angelo Mathews: 52
Dinesh Chandimal: 33
Moeen Ali: 21-4-66-4
England 2nd Innings: 322-6(93 o.)
Keaton Jennings: 146*
Ben Stokes: 62
Rangana Herath: 23-1-59-2
Sri Lanka: 15-0(7 o.)
Kaushal Silva: 8*
Dimuth Karunaratne: 7*
Sam Curran: 1-1-0-0