MX23RW : Monday, December 17 05:43:36

Jack Leach spins England into strong position in Kandy

Jack Leach spins England into strong position in Kandy
© Reuters
Sri Lanka are chasing 301 to level the three-match series.

Jack Leach struck three times with the new ball as England positioned themselves for a series-clinching victory in the second Test against Sri Lanka.

The tourists set a winning target of 301 after being bowled out for 346 on the fourth morning, Ben Foakes finishing 65 not out after he and James Anderson added a further 22 for the final wicket.

By lunch at Pallekele Stadium Sri Lanka's prospects of completing the chase had diminished considerably, Leach's triple strike leaving them 93 for three and relying on the burgeoning partnership between Dimuth Karunaratne (54no) and Angelo Mathews (28no).

Ben Foakes completes a difficult stumping
Ben Foakes completes a difficult stumping (Eranga Jayawardena/AP)

Above all else the home side would have wanted a stable opening partnership, at least enough to plant the seeds of doubt about the manageability of the pitch.

Instead Leach, used from the start with Sam Curran off the field receiving treatment for a side injury, tempted Kaushal Silva down the track in his second over.

The hard Kookaburra turned heartily and bounced obligingly, foxing the batsman but not Foakes, who completed a difficult stumping with nonchalance.

View this post on Instagram

WHAT. A. CATCH. #slveng #englandcricket

A post shared by We Are England Cricket (@englandcricket) on

Leach's second victim, Dhananjaya de Silva, was not so much beaten by the left-armer as by Keaton Jennings' stunning reflex catch at short-leg.

Jennings was instinctively tumbling away from a full-face connection when he flung a hand out and clung on brilliantly.

When Kusal Mendis was given lbw on the sweep, England wisely calling for DRS, Sri Lanka were 26 for three and adrift.

Angelo Mathews is holding firm for Sri Lanka
Angelo Mathews is holding firm for Sri Lanka (Eranga Jayawardena/AP)

An unbroken 67-run stand for the fourth wicket offered a warning that the deal was not yet done but both men had scares.

Karunaratne was given lbw to Adil Rashid just before lunch, gambling on a review which showed the ball spinning too much and missing leg stump, while Mathews was dropped on seven when Ben Stokes put down a low, wide chance at slip.

Share this article now:
Joe Root celebrates reaching a century for England on November 16, 2018
Read Next:
Centurion Joe Root urges England to complete the job in Kandy
>

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account