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25-Jan-2021 12:11:00 GMT
SL vs Eng - 2nd Test, Galle, day 4

England complete series win over Sri Lanka after dramatic fourth day

England 344 (Root 186, Buttler 55, Embuldeniya 7-137) and 164 for 4 (Sibley 56*, Buttler 46*, Embuldeniya 3-73) beat Sri Lanka 381 (Mathews 110, Dickwella 92, Perera 67, Chandimal 52, Anderson 6-40) and 126 (Embuldeniya 40, Bess 4-49, Leach 4-59) by six wickets

Galle: England completed a thrilling victory on day four of the second Test against Sri Lanka to take the series 2-0.

Chasing a tricky 164, England were 89-4 on a turning pitch but opener Dom Sibley hit 56 not out to lead his side to a six-wicket win.

Sibley, who had not reached single figures in the series, put on 75 with Jos Buttler, who made 46 not out.

Earlier, England capitalised on reckless batting to dismiss Sri Lanka for 126 in their second innings.

Dom Bess and Jack Leach took four wickets each and the hosts would have been dismissed even more cheaply, but for 40 from number 10 Lasith Embuldeniya, who finished with match figures of 10-210.

Resuming on 339-9 in their first innings, England conceded a first-innings deficit of 37 when Jack Leach was dismissed with only five runs added.

Sri Lanka were favourites at that point but England completed a turnaround on a dramatic day in which 15 wickets fell.

The series win is England's fourth in a row and they are also unbeaten in 10 successive Tests under Joe Root's captaincy, going into a difficult tour of India which starts on 5 February.

This is also England's fifth consecutive win in away Tests, the first time they have achieved that feat since the First World War. They are developing an impressive winning habit.

Sri Lanka's batting, perhaps spooked by the turning pitch, was hapless and their effort in the field lacklustre, but England were clinical.

Bess and Leach bowled well, far better than their wicketless showing in the first innings, while James Anderson took a brilliant high catch and Zak Crawley two excellent grabs at short leg.

Sri Lanka were only leading by 115 when their eighth wicket fell, seemingly out of the contest, before Embuldeniya, who had a remarkable game in defeat, dragged them to a score.

It was a score that looked competitive - the hosts were possibly even favourites - but the manner England chased their target was mighty impressive.

There was a wobble when Jonny Bairstow was trapped lbw after a useful 28-ball 29, Root - the dominant player in the series - was bowled for 11 and Dan Lawrence edged behind. 85 runs were still needed.

However, Sibley played the anchor role while Buttler provided impetus in his typically attacking style.

Sibley, so at sea in his previous three innings, calmly nudged singles into the leg side. Buttler played thumped drives to the extra cover boundary, smacked a reverse sweep through point and launched a slog sweep through mid-wicket.

In the end, England won with ease, Sibley sealing a fine win by tapping for one.

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