England’s Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root rebuild against Sri Lanka
LIVE SCORECARD: Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root build partnership after England lose two wickets in morning session of final Test against Sri Lanka
- England lost two wickets early on in the morning session of the final Test
- Keaton Jennings and Rory Burns were both dismissed cheaply early on
- But Jonny Bairstow, in his new position at No 3, and Joe Root led the fightback
The first session at both Galle and Pallekele was full of runs and – from England’s perspective – a couple too many wickets. So a lunchtime score here in Colombo of 102 for two felt like progress.
Only Sri Lanka’s slow over-rate – they managed a modest 26 in the session – prevented a higher total. But England have laid a foundation on which to build their pursuit of a 3-0 whitewash.
The headline act was Jonny Bairstow, playing his first Test of the series as as an unlike-for-unlike replacement for the injured Sam Curran.
Jonny Bairstow led the resurgence in his new role at No 3 during the morning session
England captain Joe Root once again won the toss in Colombo and elected to bat
He eased his first ball, from Dilruwan Perera, through the covers for four to shake off the dust, and slotted easily into the team template by looking to attack wherever possible. One slog-sweep for six off left-armer Malinda Pushpakumara spoke volumes. At the break, he had 42.
At the other end, Joe Root was busy and constructive, feeding off the confidence generated by his second-innings 124 at Pallekele. By lunch, he and his Yorkshire colleague had added 66.
There is turn, but it is not excessive, and Sri Lanka have already wasted both reviews, with wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella’s judgment proving awry yet again. It looks like a good toss to win – Root’s eighth success in a row.
England’s openers, by contrast, seemed determined to look this gift horse in the mouth. Having moved sensibly to 14, Rory Burns lent back in an attempt to force Perera through the covers and lost his off-bail. It was a loose stroke, and – after Burns’s contributions at Pallekele – a step backwards.
The dismissal of Keaton Jennings was just as tame. Just as he had done on the opening day of the Oval Test against India in September, Jennings tickled a slow left-armer – Pushpakumara now, Ravindra Jadeja then – straight to leg slip, as if he had forgotten he was there. With Jennings gone for 13, England were 36 for two.
But one of the strengths of this side throughout the series has been the relentlessness of its batting, to say nothing of its depth.
When Bairstow, in his first Test innings at No 3, and Root go for their strokes, they do so in the knowledge that there is plenty to come. Already, Sri Lanka look a touch ragged.
Rory Burns lent back to force a ball off the back foot before seeing his off stump being hit
Keaton Jennings was then dismissed for just 13 after Dhananjaya de Silva took a smart catch
But Root and Bairstow then steadied the ship and produced a fine partnership thereafter
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