Galle: Joe Root’s marathon 186 took England to 339/9 in their first innings, trailing Sri Lanka by 42 runs after Lasith Embuldeniya picked up a seven-wicket haul on third day of the second and final Test at Galle International Stadium, here on Sunday.
Root, who had scored a fabulous double ton in the first Test, looked good to repeat the feat in this one as well but fell victim to a Oshada Fernando throw that caught him short.
After this marathon innings, the England captain has now gone past David Gower to become his country’s fourth-highest run-getter in Tests.
Earlier, the visitors stuttered at the start of the third day when they lost Jonny Bairstow for 28. He had added just four runs to his overnight score before getting out to Embuldeniya.
Embuldeniya then turned his attention to newcomer Dan Lawrence, who struggled with the spinner’s sharp turns. Lawrence, who had got a superb 73 in the first Test, failed to last much longer and ended up giving a catch to Lahiru Thirimanne at first slip.
Despite losing two partners in quick succession, Root carried on in the same aggressive fashion as before and continued to plunder runs off bad deliveries. With a single off Dilruwan Perera, he brought up his 19th Test hundred. It was also his fourth against Sri Lanka – the most by an England batsman.
Buttler, who joined then Root at the crease supported his captain to take England to 181/4 at lunch.
Root continued to bisect gaps and accumulate runs in the second session. He shared a 97-run stand with Buttler, which was broken when the latter got out soon after his 18th Test fifty. Buttler became debutant Ramesh Mendis’ maiden Test victim.
The next man in Sam Curran (13), didn’t last for long either becoming Embuldeniya’s fifth victim of the match at tea.
For the most part of the last session Root and Dom Bess looked in control and saw off half the session with little trouble. But, Sri Lanka revived themselves in the final over of the day, strangling the scoring rate even further. Embuldeniya picked his sixth wicket when he dismissed Bess for a 95-ball 32 and then immediately removed Mark Wood in the next over for one.
With the deficit under 50, England still could have finished on a high but an error in judgment from Root rounded off a more satisfying day for the hosts.