Kusal Mendis finally found some form as he kept Sri Lankan hopes of a win alive for a while on the fourth day of the 3rd Test along with Roshen Silva, but an unnecessary mix-up between the pair ended hopes of what could have been a remarkable run chase.
After a brilliant day in the field yesterday, England started..
The day began with Sri Lanka on the back foot at 53/4, but Lakshan Sandakan – the nightwatchman – provided stubborn resistance, lasting for 41 balls before he was finally undone by an unplayable delivery from Jack Leach which found his outside edge. He only made 7 runs but made sure Sri Lanka didn’t lose a wicket in the first half an hour and added 30 runs for the fifth wicket with the more fluent Mendis, who looked hardly troubled against the English spin trio.
After the dismissal of Sandakan, Mendis found an able partner in Roshen Silva who seemed to be at ease, milking the spinners as the Sri Lankan score inched towards respectability. Mendis continued to be positive against the spinners as he reached his 7th Test half century off just 55 balls with the Sri Lankan score going pass the 100-run mark.
Mendis looked to be in fine tune, bringing back memories of his brilliant century against Australia on a spinning track at home in 2016, as he added a half century stand for the sixth wicket with the rock solid Silva. England were almost running out of options as they turned to Ben Stokes to bounce the Sri Lankan batsmen out, but it wasn’t as effective this time around as the duo of Mendis and Silva batted Sri Lanka towards safety with lunch approaching.
The partnership blossomed beautifully as they continued to dominate the English spinners slowly but surely in the post lunch session, but a couple of mix-ups which eventually ended in a risky second run, saw the end of Mendis for a superb 86. After Leach’s brilliant direct hit sent Mendis packing, Dickwella and Dilruwan soon fell to the spin of Leach and Ali.
Silva continued his lone battle before Ali got one to spin back in and clip his pad, umpire S Ravi turned down the decision, only to see Root reviewing it to find the ball cannoning into the stumps. Silva’s 161 ball 65 kept Sri Lanka in the hunt for large parts but the final nail in the coffin was when Ali trapped him in front with the total on 226.
Malinda Pushpakumara came out with positive intent as he decided to take on Jack Leach and the rest of the English spinners as he entertained a decent crowd at the SSC on the fourth evening. He struck the ball brilliantly while Lakmal slowly started to grow in confidence as well as the last wicket stand between the duo went past the 50-run mark.
Sri Lanka went into tea at 284/9 but Lakmal could last only four balls after the break as Leach captured his fourth wicket to bowl England to a memorable 3-0 series whitewash along with Moeen Ali who also picked up four wickets. The brave Pushpakumara remained unbeaten on 42* inclusive of 6 fours and a six as Sri Lanka went down by 42 runs.
336/10 & 230/10
240/10 & 284/10
England ‘s 1st Innings
|Rory Burns||b D Perera||14||34|
|Keaton Jennings||c R Silva b M Pushpakumara||13||24|
|Jonny Bairstow||b L Sandakan||110||186|
|Joe Root||c D Gunathilaka b L Sandakan||46||79|
|Ben Stokes||c D De Silva b L Sandakan||57||88|
|Jos Butler||c & b L Sandakan||16||26|
|Moeen Ali||c A Mathews b D Perera||33||55|
|Ben Foakes||c N Dickwella b M Pushpakumara||13||26|
|Adil Rashid||not out||21||31|
|Stuart Broad||b L Sandakan||0||2|
|Jack Leach||c A Mathews b D Perera||2||7|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||5||0||16||0||3.20|
Sri Lanka’s 1st Innings
|Danushka Gunathilaka||c K Jennings b J Leach||18||41|
|Dimuth Karunarathne||c K Jennings b A Rashid||83||125|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||c K Jennings b A Rashid||73||129|
|Kusal Mendis||c B Stokes b A Rashid||27||36|
|Angelo Mathews||c B Foakes b B Stokes||5||7|
|Roshen Silva||c K Jennings b A Rashid||3||9|
|Niroshan Dickwella||c B Foakes b B Stokes||5||16|
|Dilruwan Perera||c B Foakes b B Stokes||0||5|
|Suranga Lakmal||not out||3||9|
|Malinda Pushpakumara||lbw by A Rashid||13||14|
England ‘s 2nd Innings
|Rory Burns||lbw by D Perera||7||27|
|Keaton Jennings||lbw by D Perera||1||12|
|Jonny Bairstow||c K Silva b D Perera||15||31|
|Joe Root||c & b M Pushpakumara||7||9|
|Ben Stokes||c M Pushpakumara b D Perera||42||63|
|Jos Butler||st. N Dickwella b L Sandakan||64||79|
|Moeen Ali||c D De Silva b L Sandakan||22||53|
|Ben Foakes||not out||36||82|
|Adil Rashid||c N Dickwella b M Pushpakumara||24||48|
|Stuart Broad||c K Mendis b M Pushpakumara||1||5|
|Jack Leach||c N Dickwella b D Perera||0||13|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||9||1||24||0||2.67|
Sri Lanka’s 2nd Innings
|Danushka Gunathilaka||c B Stokes b M Ali||6||20|
|Dimuth Karunarathne||b M Ali||23||36|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||lbw by J Leach||0||7|
|Kusal Mendis||(runout) J Leach||86||129|
|Angelo Mathews||c S Broad b B Stokes||5||9|
|Lakshan Sandakan||c B Stokes b J Leach||7||41|
|Roshen Silva||lbw by M Ali||65||161|
|Niroshan Dickwella||c K Jennings b J Leach||19||19|
|Dilruwan Perera||c K Jennings b M Ali||5||22|
|Suranga Lakmal||lbw by J Leach||11||38|
|Malinda Pushpakumara||not out||42||40|