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Root-Bairstow stage England’s comeback after the hosts piled up runs and struck early

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Sri Lanka spinner Lasith Embuldeniya made early inroads into the England innings on day two of the ongoing second Test, but skipper Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow ensured the visitors stayed on track at the Galle International Stadium on Saturday. At stumps, England’s score reads 98/2, trailing the hosts by 283 runs, with Root (67*) and Bairstow (24*) at the crease. This after openers Dominic Sibley (0) and Zack Crawley (5) were once again trapped early by Embuldeniya.

After bundling out Sri Lanka for 381, England would have been looking to get off to a steady start, but Root and Bairstow had to bring forward a cautious approach to ensure that they kept the visitors in the game. Their unbeaten 93-run partnership came as a huge relief after they were stranded on 2/5 at one stage.

But the day belonged to James Anderson as the pacer combined with Mark Wood to bring an end to Sri Lanka’s innings on 381. Resuming day two on 229/4, hosts Sri Lanka got off to a bad start as overnight centurion Angelo Mathews (110) was sent back to the pavilion by Anderson.

Soon after, Ramesh Mendis was dismissed for a duck by Mark Wood, reducing Sri Lanka to 243/6.

Niroshan Dickwella then found support in Dilruwan Perera and the duo mixed caution with aggression to take the hosts to a position of safety. Both batsmen ensured that Sri Lanka did not lose more wickets before the lunch break, taking the score to 313/6 with Dickwella and Perera batting on 78 and 21 respectively.

In the second session, Anderson took two wickets quite early as he dismissed Niroshan Dickwella (92) and Suranga Lakmal (0).

With Dickwella’s wicket, Anderson registered his 30th five-wicket haul in Test cricket. He is now the second pace bowler after Richard Hadlee to have picked 30 fifers in Test cricket.

In the end, Perera added some crucial runs to the hosts’ total and he went on play a knock of 67 runs. While Anderson picked six wickets, Wood took four wickets while Dom Bess and Jack Leach went wicketless — the first time a spinner has not taken a single wicket in an innings of a Test at Galle.

Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 381 (Angelo Mathews 110; James Anderson 6-40); England 98/2 (Joe Root 67*; Lasith Embuldeniya 2-33).

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