England’s top order found a turning wicket after Sri Lanka worn out an enormous deficit and setup a difficult goal of 74 runs on the fourth day of the primary take a look at on Sunday.
Left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya grabbed 2/13 whereas first innings double century-maker Joe Root was brilliantly run out by Niroshan Dickwella for 1 as England went to stumps on a nervy 38/3.
Jonny Bairstow, who additionally escaped a run-out, was unbeaten on 11 whereas debutant Dan Lawrence was not out on 7 as England nonetheless wanted 36 for victory.
Sri Lanka had earlier defied England spinners via Lahiru Thirimanne’s (111) first take a look at century in virtually eight years and a combating 71 off 219 balls by Angelo Mathews to attain 359.
Leftarm spinner Jack Leach (5-122) acquired a five-wicket haul and offspinner Dom (*36*) (3-100) completed with eight wickets within the sport, however Mathews dug in nicely towards each spinners to push the match into the ultimate day.
It was a exceptional turnaround in batting type of the house staff, which was skittled out for simply 135 within the first innings earlier than Root’s 228 had led England to a frightening 421 and gave the guests a significant 286-run lead.
Sri Lanka was simply 10 runs forward when it misplaced its seventh wicket on 296, however Mathews was nicely supported by No. 10 batsman Dilruwan Perera (24) to stretch the lead to 73.
England had its probabilities, however Jos Buttler missed a troublesome stumping when Mathews was on 58 whereas Bairstow couldn’t maintain onto a pointy low catch shut to the wicket earlier than Perera had scored.
Buttler, enjoying in his forty eighth take a look at match, lastly acquired his first stumping within the five-day format when he had Perera earlier than Leach grabbed his second five-wicket haul towards Sri Lanka when Mathews lastly edged to Root within the lone slip.
The 87-test veteran Mathews, who got here to the crease within the second over of the day, batted for 5 hours and 44 minutes to elevate his thirty sixth take a look at half century and hit 4 boundaries.
(*36*) had struck twice within the center session when he had stand-in captain Dinesh Chandimal caught within the slip within the first over after lunch.
Dickwella (29) added 48 runs with Mathews earlier than enjoying a free lower towards the offspinner and acquired a thick edge to wicketkeeper Buttler earlier than Leach clear bowled Dasun Shanaka (4) with a full-pitched supply that went beneath the bat to hit the stumps.
Earlier, Thirimanne’s affected person century, spanning simply over six hours and that includes 12 fours, carried Sri Lanka to 242-4 at lunch after the house staff resumed on 156-2.
Sam Curran (2-37) offered the much-awaited breakthrough when he acquired the within edge off Thirimanne’s bat from a supply that nipped again into the left-hander.
Mathews, who was dropped on 11 at ahead brief leg, reached his second slowest fifty in take a look at cricket off 164 balls within the second session earlier than England struck via its spinners.
But Thirimanne, who wouldn’t have performed had common captain Dimuth Karunaratne recovered from a thumb damage, grabbed the chance with each fingers on a troublesome wicket the place the ball was spinning.
He put in a decided effort towards spinners and quick bowlers alike in elevating solely his second take a look at century in his thirty seventh take a look at.
England’s spinners had created alternatives to dismiss Thirimanne after (*36*) had eliminated in a single day batsman Lasith Embuldeniya for nought within the second over when the batsman performed a free shot to brief further cowl.
(*36*) twice got here shut to claiming the wicket of Thirimanne, who resumed on 76. First Dom Sibley dived full size for a catch at brief further cowl however the ball raced to the boundary after which a top-edged slog sweep landed in no-man’s land.
Thirimanne reached his hundred off 227 balls with a sq. lower boundary off (*36*). It was Thirimanne’s first take a look at hundred in 54 take a look at innings since he scored 155 not out towards Bangladesh on the similar venue in March 2013.