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23-Jan-2021 12:16:00 GMT
SL vs Eng - 2nd Test, Galle, day 2

Root and Bairstow steady England after Sri Lanka post 381

England 98 for 2 (Root 67*, Embuldeniya 2-33) trail Sri Lanka 381 (Mathews 110, Dickwella 92, Anderson 6-40) by 283 runs

Galle: James Anderson and Joe Root kept England in contention on day two of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Galle International Stadium on Saturday.

Anderson took 6-40 from 29 overs - his 30th Test five-wicket haul - as England bowled their hosts out for 381.

He dismissed Angelo Mathews in his first over for 110 but Sri Lanka eked out a good score from 243-6, Niroshan Dickwella making 92 and Dilruwan Perera 67.

England fell to 5-2 in reply but Root's enterprising 67 not out from 77 balls led England to 98-2 at the close, 283 behind.

He put on 93 with Jonny Bairstow, who is 24 not out, to steady England after openers Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley both fell, once again, to left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya.

Embuldeniya took two wickets in his first 19 balls after England's spinners had earlier bowled 64 wicketless overs.

Mark Wood took 3-84 in support of the 38-year-old Anderson, who became the oldest fast bowler to take a five-wicket haul in Asia.

England, who lead the two-Test series 1-0, will likely have to bat beyond Sri Lanka's first-innings score to win on a surface that is beginning to offer turn to the spinners.

When Embuldeniya dismissed Sibley and Crawley for the third successive innings, that looked a long way off, but Root and Bairstow came through a difficult passage to leave the game finely poised.

Root, who scored 228 in the first Test, batted superbly and swept the spinners, both conventional and reverse, at almost every opportunity.

Bairstow survived a tight lbw decision on review - a ball from off-spinner Perera would have hit leg stump but the not out on-field decision was upheld - but he too batted positively.

Still, the difficulties Embuldeniya caused put into perspective the performance of England slow bowlers Jack Leach and Dom Bess.

Their lack of threat and failure to build pressure allowed Sri Lanka to score more than they should have, especially given the performances of Anderson and Wood.

Dickwella batted excellently for his highest Test score, as did Perera who put on 89 with the wicketkeeper, 32 with number 10 Embuldeniya and 17 with last man Asitha Fernando.

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