Sri Lanka’s spinners claimed some big-name Englan wickets on the first day of the second Test on Wednesday before Jos Buttler and Sam Curran resued the innings.
Buttler’s 63 and a crucial 64 from Curran at the end lifted England to 285 all out after they had been struggling on 89-4 on the turning Pallekelle stadium pitch.
Curran, fast becoming an England hero, said reaching near 300 was a ‘massive” achievement.
England spinner Jack Leach then strengthened England’s position, dismissing opener Kaushal Silva in the 12 overs Sri Lanka faced as the home side reached 26 for one at the close.
A day that saw Ben Stokes, batting at the key number three positions, become the latest to fail also reinforced Buttler and Curran’s standing lower down the order.
England were in trouble against spinners Dilruwan Perea who took four wickets, Malinda Pushpakumara (three) and Akila Dananjaya (two) when Buttler came into a counter-attack with five boundaries and a crucial 45-run stand with Adil Rashid who made 31.
Buttler’s 63 off 67 deliveries ensured Sri Lanka did not convert a good position into a dominant one.
England (1st innings): R. Burns c de Silva b Dananjaya 43, K. Jennings c Dickwella b Lakmal 1, B. Stokes lbw b perera 19, J. Root b pushpakumara 14, J. Buttler c Karunaratne b Pushpakumara 14, J. Buttler c Karunaratne b pushpakumara 63, M. Ali lbw b Pushpakumara 10, B. Foakes c de silva b perera 19, s. Curran c Karunaratne b Perera 64, A. Rashid lbw b Perera 31, J. Leach b Dananjaya 7, Anderson (not out) 7. Extras (b4, lb3) 7. Total (in 75.4 overs) 285.
FoW: 1-7, 2-44, 3-65,4-89,5-134,6-165, 7-171, 8-216,9-225.
Bowling: Lakmal 12-1-44-1, perera 24.4-5-61-4, Pushpakumara 23-4-89-3, De silve 2-0-4-0, Dananjaya 14-1-80-2.
Sri Lanka (1st Innings): FDM Karunaratne (betting) 19, JK silva b Leach 6, PM Pushpakumara (batting) 1.
Extras O. Total (for one wicket in 12 overs) 26.
Bowling: Anderson 3-0-8-9, Curran 2-0-5-0, Leach 4-0-7-1, Ali 3-1-6-0.
From Online Sources