Jonny Bairstow laid down a marker to be England’s permanent Test number three on Friday but Sri Lanka clawed their way back into their final match with late wickets.At stumps on day one England, hunting a 3-0 whitewash, were 312-7, Bairstow having made 110 after partnerships of 100 with Joe Root and 99 with Ben Stokes.
”I was obviously pleased with it. There’s only a few times you get to score a hundred for England, so it’s a special time to be out there in the middle,” Bairstow, 29, said afterwards.
“The emotion and hard work that has gone into getting back out on the field is massive.”
Left-arm wrist spinner Lakshan Sandakan was Sri Lanka’s most penetrative — and expensive — bowler of the day, taking 4 for 91 off his 21 overs. Finger spinners
Malinda Pushpakumara and Dilruwan Perera shared the other three wickets between them.
Batting after Root won his eighth straight toss, England lost both openers cheaply in the morning.
Rory Burns disappointed again, bowled by Perera for 14 as he tried to cut. Keaton Jennings fell three overs later, caught at leg slip off Pushpakumara for 13.
But Root and Bairstow, England’s fourth different number three in the series, steadied the ship, surviving one review each to steer the visitors to 102-2 at lunch.
Bairstow and Root put on a 100-run stand before the captain fell to Sandakan after lunch, top-edging an attempted slog sweep on 46.
Sri Lanka should have had Stokes as well, with umpire Chris Gaffaney incorrectly turning down Perera’s lbw appeal when the Durham allrounder was yet to get off the mark.
Stokes and Bairstow then made hay, Stokes hitting five fours and two sixes before Sandakan got the Durham all-rounder to edge to slip, his 57 scored off 88 balls.
Bairstow then passed his century, removing his helmet and celebrating with gusto.
But he fell for 110, another Sandakan scalp, and was soon followed by Buttler for 16, caught and bowled by the same man, and by Ben Foakes who nicked Pushpakumara on 13.
Moeen Ali, who has had a woeful tour with the bat — in contrast to with ball in hand — then survived an lbw review. He ended on 23 and Adil Rashid not out on 13.
Sri Lanka also dropped two straightforward chances off Ali, who edged to wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella on two and to slip Dimuth Karunaratne on 17.
Not Given up Keeping
The ginger-haired Bairstow was installed at the key number three spot after Ali got a duck and three in the first Test and after an experiment with Stokes in Kandy failed to pay off.
But Bairstow on Friday stopped short of saying he has now made the position his own with his century, his sixth.
“Long term who knows what’s going to happen. In the last year I think I’ve batted at 7, 6, 5, 4 and three. Who knows what’s going to happen long term but I’m happy with my performance today,” he said.
Injuring himself playing football before the Galle Test, he was then left out in Kandy after his replacement at wicketkeeper, Foakes, hit a blistering century — and on his Test debut.
Bairstow made clear Friday though that he hasn’t hung up his gloves just yet.
“I’ve not given up my keeping, I want to make that very, very clear. I’m still working hard on my keeping because it’s something I still want to do,” he said.
Commentary (England innings)
The star of today’s play was definitely Rashid, who got his best Test figures of 13.5-2-49-5. Stokes bowled well and was helped by some poor batting by the hosts as well. Earlier on in the day, Dhananjaya de Silva and Dimuth Karunaratne made a massive stand of 142 runs. But that didn’t prove to be enough. Moving on though, Sri Lanka have to get some rest and come out fighting as they can’t let their shoulders drop. They must fight like Lions and try to make a game out of this dire situation. England have a much easier task, to just play to the merit and the situation and accumulate runs. Lots of time left in the Test and a result looks imminent if the rain stays away. Join us for play on Day 3 at 1000 local (0430 GMT). Adios! Take care.
Well! Well! What looked like being Sri Lanka’s day has turned and one would say England will be happier at Stumps, despite Sri Lanka winning the first two sessions comprehensively. But England won the third session so outright that they are the side on top walking off the field at the end of the day. They have things firmly in their grasp now, with a lead of 99. The visitors are essentially 99 for no loss and will look to bat as long as possible tomorrow, give Sri Lanka a target that would be almost impossible to achieve and would still have enough time to bowl the Lankans out.
3.6 de Silva to R Burns, Yorker length, Burns defends it with the bottom of his bat. Another maiden. Meanwhile the light has deteriorated and has been offered to the batsmen, they are going off! It will be STUMPS on Day 2. 3/0
3.5 de Silva to Burns, Flatter ball on middle, no spin at all. Burns defends on the front foot. 3/0
3.4 de Silva to Burns, Shorter ball on middle, Burns decides to keep it out off his back foot. 3/0
3.3 de Silva to Burns, Flatter ball on middle, Burns rocks back and defends. 3/0
3.2 de Silva to Burns, Flatter ball at off, Burns is ahead to this one as he keeps it out. 3/0
3.1 de Silva to Burns, Full and outside off, Burns plays it with soft hands to point. 3/0
Dhananjaya de Silva replaces Malinda Pushpakumara.
2.6 D Perera to Jennings, Flatter ball outside off, let go by the batsman. Maiden over. 3/0
2.5 D Perera to Jennings, Full and at the pads again, Jennings brings his bat in front of his pad and defends. 3/0
2.4 D Perera to Jennings, Full and at the pads, Jennings pushes it to short mid-wicket. 3/0
2.3 D Perera to Jennings, Similar ball and similarly played. 3/0
2.2 D Perera to Jennings, Jennings is half ahead in defense. 3/0
2.1 D Perera to Jennings, Flatter and quicker on middle, Jennings is inside his crease and defends. 3/0
1.6 M Pushpakumara to Burns, Flatter delivery on off, kept out towards cover. 3/0
1.5 M Pushpakumara to Burns, Fuller and on off, Burns comes forward and dead bats it. 3/0
1.4 M Pushpakumara to Jennings, Slower and short outside off, Jennings pushes it towards backward point for a run. 3/0
1.3 M Pushpakumara to Jennings, Flighted outside off, Jennings prods ahead and defends. 2/0
1.2 M Pushpakumara to Burns, Short and outside off, Burns cuts it away to backward point for a single. 2/0
1.1 M Pushpakumara to Burns, Flatter ball outside off, punched back to the bowler. 1/0
Malinda Pushpakumara to share the new ball.
0.6 D Perera to Jennings, Flatter ball outside off, Jennings drops it toward point. 1/0
0.5 D Perera to Jennings, Flatter delivery on off, Jennings pushes it to cover. 1/0
0.4 D Perera to Jennings, So close! Jennings chooses to leave the arm ball which misses his off pole by a whisker. 1/0
0.3 D Perera to Burns, Shorter on off, Burns pushes it to sweeper for a single. 1/0
0.2 D Perera to Burns, Quicker on middle, Burns defends on the front foot. 0/0
0.1 D Perera to Burns, Looped up on off and turning away, Burns leaves it alone. 0/0
First Published: November 24, 2018, 10:20 AM IST