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Jayawardene, Sangakkara Lead Sri Lanka Fightback

Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara bat for Sri Lanka
Mahela Jayawardene (left) and Kumar Sangakkara both scored 55 as Sri Lanka fought back
©REUTERS / Action Images
Moeen Ali celebrates with team-mates
Moeen Ali took two wickets in three balls in the final session to remove Sangakkara and Lahiru Thirimanne
©REUTERS / Action Images

Sri Lanka 257 & 214-4 (Jayawardene 55no) v
England 365 (Robson 127, Ballance 74)
Second Test, Headingley, day three

Mahela Jayawardene hit an unbeaten half-century to continue a Sri Lankan fightback on day three of the second Test against England at Headingley.

Kumar Sangakkara also scored a half-century as Sri Lanka, who bowled England out for 365 in the morning session, closed on 214 for four.

That puts them 106 runs ahead with Jayawardene unbeaten on 55 and Angelo Mathews on 24.

Sangakkara's 55 was his seventh consecutive half-century in Tests, becoming the fourth player to achieve the feat but he became one of two wickets Moeen Ali took in three balls as England broke through in the final session.

However, Jayawardene and Mathews held firm to keep Sri Lanka's hopes of a come-from-behind victory alive.

England resumed the day on 320 for six but subsided quickly in the morning as Mathews completed figures of four for 44 and Shaminda Eranga four for 93.

Chris Jordan (17) was the first to go when he was caught by Jayawardene at slip off Eranga.

Stuart Broad made just four when he drove at a good-length delivery and was caught by Lahiru Thirimanne in the gully as Mathews struck, following it up with one that moved enough to bowl Liam Plunkett for two.

Matthew Prior then danced down the track to smash a six over long-on and would end up unbeaten on 27 when James Anderson was bounced out by Eranga, fending a simple chance back to the bowler without scoring.

Sri Lankan openers Dimuth Karunaratne (45) and Kaushal Silva (13) made it to lunch on 22 without loss but England let Karunaratne off when Jordan spilled a chance behind the wicket off Anderson.

When Silva did edge Plunkett after the break, Prior held on and in the process overtook Alec Stewart to go to second place on the list of England's leading wicket-keepers in terms of dismissals, with 242.

Karunaratne fell to the same combination before Sri Lanka, with Sangakkara and Jayawardene at the crease, reached tea at 99 for two, just nine runs behind.

They moved ahead after lunch as Sangakkara emulated Sir Everton Weekes, Andy Flower and Shivnarine Chanderpaul by hitting a seventh consecutive half-century.

He and Jayawardene put on 79 together for the third wicket, taking advantage of a lacklustre display from England, who barely looked threatening until Alastair Cook turned to Moeen.

He quickly struck to have Sangakkara trapped in front and then produced a stunning delivery that pitched on middle and leg and took out off stump to leave Thirimanne floundering.

Sangakkara had faced 103 balls for his 55 and Thirimanne, who has scored just four runs in the series, registered a two-ball duck.

Jayawardene made 55 in 123 deliveries and Mathews 24 in 48, pushing the tourists further ahead and setting up an intriguing end to the game.

With Dinesh Chandimal still to bat and Rangana Herath, the only specialist spinner playing in the match, on their side, another 100 runs could put England, who will be targeting a vastly improved bowling performance, under pressure.

© Cricket World 2014