James Anderson converted the 30th five-wicket haul of his Test career into a six on the second day of England’s second Test in Sri Lanka.
England’s leading wicket-taker finished 6-40, with Sri Lanka out for 381 at the end of the extended afternoon session, while Joe Root was unbeaten on 67. Tourists fell 5-2 to 98-2 in the close of the vacancy.
Previously, Niroshan Dikwella was one of Anderson’s victims with less than a first Test century, while Dilruwan Perera (67) was the last player.
All 10 Sri Lankan wickets fell to the seamers in a Test on the island since 1994, but the spin soon came into the equation as left-hander Lasith Embuldenia counted England openers for the third time in several innings in the series.
Root and Burstow put the tourists in order, the captain was as impressive as he was in scoring his double century in the first Test, bringing his 50th Test fifty from 65 balls to 65 balls and safely to the stumps.
As the session went on, Sri Lanka followed a similar pattern one day in the morning as the UK attacked early before fighting back.
Anderson added Angelo Mathews (110) in the last ball of his first over to add three runs in his overnight before the Sri Lankan centurion was caught following an England rating.
The appeal was unbelievable as Anderson turned the ball over to Mathews and the ball went close to the bat before throwing the pads on the way to Jose Butler behind the stumps. Root called for reconsideration and the Ultra Edge showed a blurred inner edge.
Debutant Ramesh Mendis came on and went unbeaten, however he could only count himself a little unlucky as he saw Mark Wood’s ball down the leg, only for Butler to dive to his left and take an amazing one-handed catch.
Dickwella batted well, often showed a mindset that did not match his undoubted prowess, and made it easy for the 16th Test fifty.
Dilruwan Perera, who kept England at bay in the first Test, was proving to be an effective ally, defending solidly before taking the occasional action to bring down the spectators’ working spin bowlers.
The pair added 70 runs at lunch, with Dickwella moving to his highest Test score of two overs in the afternoon with the previous 83 runs.
The left-handed player was moving into the 90s and was playing with such confidence that several drives through the offside were particularly eye-catching, with three figures confirmed.
Sri Lanka vs England
January 24, 2021, 4:25 p.m.
However, he cut down eight painful runs and Anderson found progress for England again, pushing Dickwella through a wide off-cutter, bringing two catchers in front of the square. The batsman avoided them, but could not get the ball past Jack Leach in the wide mid-op.
The wicket took the 38-year-old Asia’s oldest bowler suspected to be the oldest fast bowler to take the honor, and then two balls, as Suranga Lakmal set up a fence for Jack Crawley for five sixes.
Leaving only the tail for the company, Dilruwan continued the attack and knocked Leach to the ground for six on his way to his seventh Test fifty.
Embuldenia (7) stayed with him for 12 overs until Wood (3-84) edged to the root in the first slip to give up his third wicket, but seven overs were frustrated before the innings closed and Dilruwan finally came out to give his first wicket to Sam Curran (1-60).
Tea was picked up late as Root’s men tried to finish things off, but Tom Sibley and Jack Crawley didn’t benefit much from the break.
After four maidens to start the innings, a Crawley four left the England, but Embuldenia caught Sibylie LPW with a ball that slipped in the next over and quickly added Crawley’s wicket, then caught on the slip after advancing towards a turning point.
England openers so far in the series against Embuldenia: 8 off 55 balls with 6 not out
– Benedict Permange (ened Benedict_B) January 23, 2021
No starter in the series has reached double figures, meaning Root has joined the rebuilding work at the start again.
The England captain was able to spin the strike well against Embuldenia, using the sweep shots that gave him such a win in the opening game of the series to once again bring the best result, the pressure eased and a top sweep of four brought in 50 allies in quick time.
Byrstoe overcame some early issues against Dilruwan’s off-spin, in which he escaped a very close LPW review, forcing the bowler to return to the sweep to knock him off his line, doing so and avoiding the path, knocking him to the ground.
Root, meanwhile, was more impressive than he was at 228 last week, and of course the runs were coming in quickly with 10 fours, mostly made up of sweeps and reverse-sweeps, putting pressure on the Sri Lankan bowlers again.
The third wicket stand reached 93 by stumps, but England will hear a lot from the two Yorkshiremen on the third day as they try for more than Sri Lanka’s first innings total.
Watch the third day of the second Test between Sri Lanka and England on Sky Sports Cricket from 4.25am on Sunday.