Captain Joe Root carried England to 324-9 – and a lead of 273 – on day three of the second Test against Sri Lanka at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy on Friday.
Root struck a sterling century, as the hosts pushed for an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. His 124 spanned 146 deliveries and featured 10 fours and two sixes.
He relished solid support from opener Rory Burns and wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Foakes. Burns struck 59 to Foakes’ 51 not out.
All-rounders Ben Stokes and Sam Curran, meanwhile, each fell for a duck. Stokes or Curran have been tipped to fill England’s No 3 batting berth for the foreseeable future, but neither impressed down the order on Friday.
Spinner Akila Dananjaya proved the pick of the bowlers, completing telling figures of 6-106. He had managed two other wickets in the first innings. Dananjaya will probably miss the third and final Test, as he has to undergo tests after being reported for a suspect bowling action.
Foakes and tail-ender James Anderson will resume on Saturday and push for a 300-plus lead, unless Root decides to declare overnight. Either way, Sri Lanka will face a tough task in trying to avoid defeat. England have a solid slow-bowling attack in conditions entirely conducive to spin.