A dauntless fight back, courtesy of Jonny Bairstow (140) and Alex Hales (86), followed by excellent swing bowling by the brutal trio James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Benn Stokes saw England not only rallying from a taxing batting adventure but also flattening out Sri Lanka for a mere 91.
After torrential rains washed out the entire third session of Day 1, England resumed their uphill task at 175/5 as Hales and Bairstow added a further 49 before the 141 run stand was finally broken by Rangana Herath when Hales departed for 86 following a fine catch by Dushmantha Chameera.
Later, Chameera removed both Moeen Ali and Stuart Broad to gain the upper hand of the game. However Bairstow and Steven Finn annexed 56 runs for the 9 th wicket before stumper’s valiant innings of 140 was finally cu short by Chameera. England reached 298, which seemed to bean unlikely score at one point, credit to Hales and Bairstow’s fearless batting display. For Sri Lanka, Chameera and Dasun Shanaka took 3 scalps each while Rangana Herath bagged two.
The English pacemen commenced the vicious operation as Broad sent Dimuth Karunaratne for a duck before Anderson began his carnage by removing Kaushal Silva for 9. Kusal Mendis followed, as a peach by Broad sent him without bothering the scorers.
Sri Lankans were struggling at 12/3 when skipper Angelo Mathews joined Dinesh Chandimal to revive the innings. The Lions reached 43/3 at tea, but the seemingly promising recovery was foiled by Ben Stokes when he dismissed Chandimal for 15. Angelo Mathews grappled his way to 34 before he was trapped in front by Anderson.
The crippled batting order narrated its own tale as Sri Lanka, after being 77/5 at one point were bundled out for 91 while terrific English pace bowling ran riot, sweeping away the tail as they claimed the last 5 wickets for a mere 14 runs. James Anderson’s outstanding bowling resulted in his first 5 wicket haul at Leeds while Broad struck from the other end with 4 victims under his name.
A forgettable day for the visitors ended when bad light forced play to a halt for day 2 as Sri Lanka remained at 1/0 in their follow on.