Honours even at close of play on Day 1 of 2nd Test Sri Lanka v England

Jos Buttler 63 for England today
©Reuters
 
Sri Lanka celebrate another England wicket
©Reuters
 

England won the toss and decided to bat against Sri Lanka in the 2nd Test starting today at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, Kandy.

Match Summary

England 285 (Jos Buttler 63, Sam Curran 64; Dilruwan Perera 4-61, Malinda Pushpakumara 3-89)

Sri Lanka 26-1

At the Close of Play – Sri Lanka trail England by 259 runs with 9 wickets remaining

Scorecard

Having won the toss and decided to bat, England were soon in trouble losing Keaton Jennings early on for 1. Shifting around the batting order, Stokes came in at Number 3 and was out LBW for 17,with the score now 44-2. Dilruwan Perera 4-61 and Malinda Pushpakumara 3-89 then bowled Sri Lanka into a commanding position in the match reducing England to 285 and, but for Jos Buttler 63 and Sam Curran 64, it could have been a lot worse for England. In reply, Sri Lanka were 26-1 at the close of play.

Match Report

This has become far too familiar a sight for English cricket in the recent times: the top border collapses every now and then and it is left to the lower order to bail the team out of trouble.

Credit must be given to the English lower order for the consistency with which it has performed. What England would be much happier with though is if their top order also starts achieving the same consistency. This would make Root & Co a well and truly balance side. A side which can dominate attacks irrespective of the conditions.

Early blows from Sri Lankan spinners left England rattled at 89 for four at one point. It was only opener Rory Burns who looked a bit assured against the spinning ball.

Just when a counter-attacking knock from Jos Buttler seemed to steady the ship, some quick wickets post lunch left England reeling at 171 for seven.

However, it was again the English lower order and mainly Sam Curran who snatched momentum away from the Lankans by stitching a 45-run partnership with Adil Rashid. After Rashid got out, Curran changed gears and scored some quick runs in his 60-run partnership with James Anderson.

The last five wickets of England added 151 runs as opposed to 134 by the top five wickets. This not only helped shift momentum in England's favour but also frustrated the Sri Lankan bowlers. Dilruwan Perera was the highest wicket-taker for Sri Lanka, bagging four wickets. Malinda Pushpakumara, replacing Rangana Herath, picked up three.

At the end, the Lankans were left facing a tricky period of 11 overs which they negotiated for the loss of Kaushal Silva's wicket.

The pitch is offering a lot of turn. As England have three decent spinners in Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid and Jack Leach in their ranks, a first innings lead can be a far-fetched task for Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka - Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella(wk), Dilruwan Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Suranga Lakmal(c), Malinda Pushpakumara

England - Rory Burns, Keaton Jennings, Ben Stokes, Joe Root(c), Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Ben Foakes(wk), Sam Curran, Adil Rashid, Jack Leach, James Anderson

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