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by Alastair Symondson Sunday 25 November 2018
A day that ended on a high for England did not start out too well for them as opener Rory Burns and Keaton Jennings were both rapped on the pads by Dilruwan Perera quite early.
The star of the first innings Jonny Bairstow could not repeat his heroics in the second essay. Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler then extended the lead by playing quick knocks with a few more contributions from Moeen Ali, Ben Foakes and Adil Rashid down the order.
England were successful in taking a healthy lead of around 330. If Lakshan Sandakan picked up a fifer in the first innings, Dilruwan Perera did just that in the second innings. He was assisted by three wickets from Malinda Pushpakumara and two from Sandakan.
A fine example of England's acute planning came when Angelo Mathews was out on the crease. Realising that Mathews is a compulsive hooker, Ben Stokes bowled an away going bouncer at pace and Mathews could not help but try to pull it. The result was that he was caught beautifully by Stuart Broad at mid wicket and Sri Lanka lost their most experienced batsman.
Moeen Ali dismissed both openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Danushka Gunathilaka relatively early. The last bit belonged to Ben Stokes, not for the wicket he took but for the intensity with which he bowled, with some deliveries clocking over 145 kmph.
It would just be just a formality on day four as England are all set to clean sweep the Test series 3-0 and write a new chapter in the history books of cricket.
Let's have a look at the playing XIs of both teams.
Sri Lanka- Dimuth Karunaratne, Danushka Gunathilaka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Lakshan Sandakan, Malinda Pushpakumara
England- Rory Burns, Keaton Jennings, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Ben Foakes, Adil Rashid, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad
Who will win? – England
Top Batsman (Runs Scored) –Niroshan Dickwella (Sri Lanka)
Top Bowler (Wickets taken) – Moeen Ali (England)
Most Fours – Niroshan Dickwella (Sri Lanka)
Team Scores Batting at the end of Day 4 – Sri Lanka 130+ all out
*NB these predictions may be changed nearer the start of the match once the final starting teams have been announced and we will be running ‘In–Play’ features soon, so stay tuned.
© Cricket World 2018