Hello and welcome to the fourth day’s play from Galle where this match remains in the balance. The bookies have Sri Lanka slight favourites, but all three results are possible with England resuming this morning 42 runs in arrears and with their final pair at the crease.
Yesterday was all about Joe Root, who backed up his 228 in the first Test with an equally brilliant 186 in this match before an unfortunate run out brought his innings to an end when he flicked the ball off his pads and Oshada Fernando produced a direct hit from short-leg.
Here’s Jos Buttler on his captain’s exploits: “It was a quite amazing innings, to back up his double hundred in the first Test and to show both the physical and mental application to do it again has been a masterclass in batting against spin.
“It’s been an education for all of us watching on from the sidelines. We thoroughly enjoyed watching him and we were gutted for him to get out in that fashion at the end of the day.
“He certainly sits at the top table of cricketers in the world and the standards he sets himself and drives on to achieve is what makes him so good. That hunger to back up a double in the first game, to go and score another massive hundred just shows where he is at with his game.
Root’s efforts came in some of the most forbidding conditions around, with 32-degree heat amplified by punishing humidity and extended sessions. Every time there was a pause in play Root called for energy gels and bananas to replenish his reserves.
Buttler added: “Sri Lanka is as challenging as anything we face. I think that just adds to the magnitude of Rooty’s innings really. Technically, tactically and physically it’s an amazing effort.
“For the eight days of cricket we’ve had so far, he’s been pretty much on the field the whole time. We have to not just praise the tactical and technical aspects of this game but the physicality and concentration to apply himself for so long.”