England 131/4 at Lunch, lead by 85 runs

England 131/4 at Lunch, lead by 85 runs

It summed up a frustrating second day for England, who reduced Sri Lanka to 165-6 only for Roshen Silva's 85 to push them up to 336 in response to England's 290.

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He carried on in the same fashion, surpassing Nasser Hussain's previous mark of 109 for the highest score by an England captain in Sri Lanka, before missing a ball that straightened with a slightly exhausted stroke to be trapped plumb in front. "We can put them under pressure if we can get a couple of wickets early morning", said Karunaratne. Stand-in skipper Suranga Lakmal was unbeaten on 15 at the end. "At one point we were hoping we might have that lead going into our batting, but we're feeling good about bowling last on that wicket".

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England had made inroads into the Sri Lankan middle order through some brilliant fielding by Ben Stokes before lunch but Silva frustrated the opposition bowlers for the rest of the day.

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Root's struggle against left-arm spin, meanwhile, compounded England's crisis after the captain, dismissed twice by Rangana Herath in his farewell test in Galle, fell for 14 to Malinda Pushpakumara, who squeezed one through the batsman's defence.

The tourists were quietly confident that their first-innings total of 285 was a strong foundation on a dry and turning track, but were faced with a 46-run deficit after the hosts dug in for 103 overs in the second Test at Pallekele Stadium.

Curran added 60 runs for the last wicket with James Anderson to push England's total close to 300. "We got a nice score on the board", Curran said.

Jos Buttler (63) looked in fine fettle as he helped get England back on track with a half-century that included seven boundaries, but Ben Foakes (19) bizarrely did not suggest a review and simply walked off despite not appearing to have connected with the bat when he was caught off Dilruwan at slip.

Contingency plans, including the players staying two hours away in Dambulla and even moving the fixture to Colombo, were floated and rejected and only after the intervention of sports minister Faiszer Musthapha were the teams installed at their preferred lodgings.

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