LIVE SCORECARD: England extend their lead to 250 over Sri Lanka
LIVE SCORECARD: England extend their lead to 250 over Sri Lanka as Keaton Jennings steps up after Rory Burns is out softly
- England have extended their lead over Sri Lanka to 250 runs at lunch
- Keaton Jennings compiled his first Test half-century for two years in Galle
- But newcomer Rory Burns fell cheaply for 23 after being run out
The wisdom before this game was that it was up to Rory Burns to fill the boots vacated by Alastair Cook. Instead, it has been Keaton Jennings who has slipped into his size 10s.
While Burns succumbed to the second soft dismissal of his debut Test, run out for 23 after chancing a single to Dimuth Karunaratne at mid-on, Jennings built on his first-innings 46 by compiling his first Test fifty for two years.
With both Moeen Ali and Joe Root falling for three – Ali to a dreadful stroke, Root to a good one from Rangana Herath – England were grateful for Jennings’s application.
At lunch, with Jennings on 60, their lead is a comfortable 250, but they did not to want to give Sri Lanka a sniff of getting back into this first Test.
For most of the morning, the cricket was understandably attritional. Burns and Jennings fed off singles, some chancier than others, while Burns was fortunate to survive an lbw shout on 13 from Dilruwan Perera: Hawk-Eye ruled umpire’s call on the point of impact.
Then, with the score on 60, and the lead 199, Burns pushed to mid-on, where the portly Herath had just been replaced by the more athletic Karunaratne.
Keaton Jennings marks his half-century in Galle as England build their lead over Sri Lanka
Jennings cuts away a shot on the third morning of the first Test at the Galle Stadium
Rory Burns was run out for 23 by Dimuth Karunaratne as the opener fell cheaply once again
The direct hit left Burns a foot short. After his first-innings strangle, it was a frustrating way to go, especially as he had been run out in one of the warm-up games.
He clearly has promise, but he has learned an early lessons: Test innings are not to be trifled with.
The stroke that caused Ali’s dismissal suggested you can play more than 50 Tests and still not have absorbed the moral of the story.
Out first ball in the first innings, he chipped Perera to mid-on, where Herath – restored to the position – took a tumbling catch.
Ali’s double failure here will reignite the debate about the No 3 role, especially with Jonny Bairstow keen to resume his place in the team for the second Test in Pallekele following his ankle injury.
Dilruwan Perera celebrates after Rory Burns is run out at the Galle International Stadium
Perera (left) celebrates with his team-mates after taking the wicket of Moeen Ali
Joe Root was dismissed for just three after being caught behind by Niroshan Dickwella
Root could do little about the delivery from Herath that turned enough to kiss the edge on the way through to Niroshan Dickwella, and England were thankful that Sri Lanka failed to review an lbw shout from Dhananjaya de Silva when Jennings had 58: the technology would have sent him on his way.
On a pitch offering increasing help to the spinners, England had to wait 20 overs until their first boundary, Jennings easing Perera through the covers.
Ben Stokes added a second when Akila Dananjaya served up a rare long hop, but the session was all about ensuring the tourists didn’t blow their advantage.
We are not even halfway through this match, so time ought not to be an issue. Miraculously, the weather has held.
Almost as miraculously, England remain on course for a first win at Galle.
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