• Curran, Buttler put England in command

    Solid half-centuries from wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler and all-rounder Sam Curran – and spinner Jack Leach’s early breakthrough – afforded England the advantage on day one of the second Test against Sri Lanka at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy on Wednesday.

    The English reached a decent 285 all out, after which the Sri Lankans moved to 26 for one – and will pick up on a 259-run deficit on Thursday.

    Captain Joe Root’s decision to bat first after winning the toss backfired initially, as the visitors slipped to 134 for five. Buttler and Curran then weighed in with 63 and 64, respectively.

    The left-handed Curran proved particularly prolific during a last-wicket partnership of 60 alongside tail-ender James Anderson. Curran’s stay ultimately featured six sixes.

    Spinner Dilruwan Perera was the most successful bowler, completing telling figures of four for 61, which included the key dismissals of all-rounder Ben Stokes, first-Test centurion Ben Foakes, Curran and the threatening Adil Rashid.

    The decision to push Stokes to third in the order, ahead of fellow all-rounder Moeen Ali, was promising. Stokes, however, failed to convert a burgeoning 19 into an innings of Buttler- or Curran-esque substance.

    Sri Lanka’s attempt to keep all 10 wickets intact during the closing dozen overs failed when Leach bowled opener Kaushal Silva. The in-form Dimuth Karunaratne and nightwatchman Malinda Pushpakumara will resume on day two.

    England lead the three-match series after last week’s comfortable victory in the first Test in Galle.


    Image: Getty

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    Jonhenry Wilson