Spinners hurt Sri Lanka after cautious start



England picked up three wickets in the first session. © AFP

England’s spinners continued their good run in the second innings as well – reducing Sri Lanka to 98 for 3 at Lunch on day four in Galle on Friday (November 9). Set 462, the target was never a consideration at the start of the day but the openers did what was expected of them – give the team a cautious start.

England started with James Anderson and Sam Curran to test both Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva. However, both Sri Lanka openers looked at ease with not much happening off the deck in the first ten overs of the day. In the first hour of play, the visitors managed to create three chances but those didn’t result in wickets.

While the edges fell short of slips, the third one – off Moeen Ali – was shelled. Karunaratne will drawn forward by the offspinner and then beaten by the dip on the ball. The ball spun just enough to take the edge and go to Ben Stokes at first slip, who got both hands to it but failed to grab on. At drinks, Sri Lanka were 51 for no loss with both openers looking comfortable for a long haul.

But England didn’t have to wait long for the first break. The third ball after the break, Silva lost his concentration and went for a sweep to a ball too full from Jack Leach. He was trapped plumb in front and then compounded his poor shot selection by wasting a review. It was just the opening England needed.

Karunaratne played very pretty sensibly but at end of his 86-ball 26 had only himself to blame. Having got himself in, he charged Moeen and chipped back a straight catch to the bowler. At 59 for 2, all the early good work was undone.

Both Dhananjaya de Silva and Kusal Mendis played positively as England’s threats – the spinners – continued to bowl in tandem. There were a few nervy moments but the pair did well to keep the spinners at bay. There was some drama in the last over before the break after Dhananjaya was given caught behind but reversed the decision with a review. He, however, lasted just one more ball as he edged the very next ball to first slip to give Stokes his first wicket in the game. After rains hammered Galle overnight, England will hope the showers stay away as they chase a win in Sri Lanka after a six-year gap.

Brief scores: England 342 &322/6 (Keaton Jennings 146*; Rangana Herath 2-59) lead Sri Lanka 203 & 98/3 (Jack Leach 1-21) by 364 runs.

© Cricbuzz


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