Day three of the 1st Test belonged to Keaton Jennings, a man who was not even sure of being on the plane to Sri Lanka after a dismal series against India at home.
The stands at the Galle International Cricket Stadium were filled up soon with English supporters on the morning of day three, as it felt more and more like a home game for the Englishmen rather than a home send off Sri Lanka’s legendary spin bowler, Rangana Herath would have expected.
The English dominance was unfortunately not only in the stands, but also on the pitch as well. Debutant Rory Burns – though looking uncomfortable during his stay – made sure England got off to a good start as he added 60 runs for the 1st wicket with Keaton Jennings. The Sri Lankan bowlers looked really flat before a bit of inspiration in the field from Dimuth Karunaratne provided the opening breakthrough in the form of a run-out.
Moeen Ali who has been used as a make shift no.3 made his intentions clear but failed to execute as he held out to mid-on looking for a big heave towards cow corner before the ever reliable Herath – playing in his last international match – produced some magic when he pushed one quicker getting it to kick-off from the surface to send Joe Root back.
Jennings who was unfortunate to miss out on a half century in the first innings, made sure he made use of his opportunity as he got to a half century with ease the second time around. The England lead continued to grow as Jennings seemed at home against spin with the use of plenty of sweeps and reverse sweeps. He got good company initially from Ben Stokes who hit his way to 62 inclusive of 4 fours and 3 sixes as the duo added 107 runs for the fourth wicket.
Jennings was involved in another fruitful partnership of 77 runs with Buttler(35) for the 5th wicket while he got to the three figure mark in the process; his second century after his century on debut against India in India. A screamer at silly-point by Kaushal Silva ended Buttler’s innings but centurion from 1st innings Ben Foakes came out with his intentions clear lofting Akila Dananjaya for two sixes in the same over as the English lead went pass the 450 run mark.
He fell in search of quick runs for 37 off just 34 balls, as he tried to hit another six off Dananjaya who looked ineffective throughout the match. The declaration came soon after with Jennings unbeaten on 146* and England on 322/6, 461 runs ahead of Sri Lanka. Interestingly Jennings’ 280 ball marathon innings had only 9 fours in it which showed the temperament of the man who was also fighting for his place in the team.
Rangana Herath walked off the field as a bowler for one last time only with two wickets against his name while Dilruwan Perera ended with seven in the match.
The Sri Lankan opening pair of Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva managed to survive till stumps, as Sri Lanka need a further 447 runs to win the match with two days remaining.
342/10 & 322/6
203/10 & 96/2
England ‘s 1st Innings
|Rory Burns||c N Dickwella b S Lakmal||9||12|
|Keaton Jennings||b D Perera||46||53|
|Moeen Ali||b S Lakmal||0||1|
|Joe Root||b R Herath||35||46|
|Ben Stokes||b D Perera||7||19|
|Jos Butler||c N Dickwella b D Perera||38||72|
|Ben Foakes||c D De Silva b S Lakmal||107||202|
|Sam Curran||c D Chandimal b A Dananjaya||48||104|
|Adil Rashid||c D De Silva b D Perera||35||38|
|Jack Leach||c D De Silva b D Perera||15||31|
|James Anderson||not out||0||4|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||3||0||18||0||6.00|
Sri Lanka’s 1st Innings
|Dimuth Karunarathne||c B Foakes b J Anderson||4||2|
|Kaushal Silva||lbw by S Curran||1||6|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||b M Ali||14||47|
|Kusal Mendis||c B Stokes b J Leach||19||32|
|Angelo Mathews||c K Jennings b M Ali||52||122|
|Dinesh Chandimal||st B Foakes b A Rashid||33||72|
|Niroshan Dickwella||c J Butler b M Ali||28||39|
|Dilruwan Perera||c J Butler b J Leach||21||49|
|Akila Dananjaya||c B Foakes b M Ali||0||3|
|Suranga Lakmal||c J Anderson b A Rashid||15||20|
|Rangana Herath||not out||14||16|
England ‘s 2nd Innings
|Rory Burns||(runout) D Karunarathne||23||65|
|Keaton Jennings||not out||146||280|
|Moeen Ali||c R Herath b D Perera||3||11|
|Joe Root||c N Dickwella b R Herath||3||19|
|Ben Stokes||b D Perera||62||93|
|Jos Butler||c K Silva b R Herath||35||58|
|Ben Foakes||c K Mendis b A Dananjaya||37||34|
|Sam Curran||not out||0||0|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||12.1||2||41||0||3.39|
Sri Lanka’s 2nd Innings
|Dimuth Karunarathne||c & b M Ali||26||86|
|Kaushal Silva||lbw by J Leach||30||59|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||not out||0||0|
|Kusal Mendis||not out||0||0|