Sri Lanka were 229-4 at stumps on the first day of the second Test against England after an Angelo Matthews century gave them a much-needed confidence boost.
Sri Lanka needed a strong statement of intent after they were wiped in the first Test, and, powered by Matthews’ excellent knock of 107*, they started the Test in the manner they would have wanted.
Early on though it appeared normal service had resumed, but Matthews and Dinesh Chandimal (52) shared a critical third-wicket partnership after Sri Lanka found themselves 7-2 early on.
There was also a notable contribution of 43 opener Lahiru Thirimanne. His opening partner Kusal Perera once again got out playing a revolting hack that caught his edge and spat to Joe Root at slip, where the England skipper took a sharp catch. His Test career is now on the ropes after a series of single figure scores.
Oshada Fernando then chopped on a James Anderson delivery, leaving the hosts in lots of strife, but Matthews and Chandimal showed all their experience to steady the innings in the face of some skilful and discipled bowling.
Their 117-run stand was the first time in the series Sri Lanka gained the ascendancy, and while they’ll lament Chandimal’s loss not long before the close of play, the hosts will rest tonight knowing they never betrayed their talent.