After those three wickets late last evening, it was smooth sailing for England on the final day of the Galle Test, as they wrapped up a seven-wicket win for a 1-0 series lead. With just 36 needed on the final day in a chase of 74, they took less than 10 overs to complete formalities on Monday (January 18).
Jonny Bairstow and Daniel Lawrence needed just over 30 runs to win when they came to the middle on the morning of the final day after England went to stumps on 38 for 3. The duo in their 62-run stand, were proactive, kept the runs coming at a brisk rate and without much fuss chased the required runs. Sri Lanka's spinners didn't get it right on the final morning. Dilruwan Perera could've had Lawrence early in the day, but Sri Lanka didn't review a leg-before call that ball-tracking showed three reds on replay. They had reviewed a leg-before decision in the first over of the day, but UltraEdge showed there was a bit of glove.
The wicket was deteriorating, but getting seven wickets for 36 runs always would've been a miraculous task, if at all. Bairstow and Lawrence didn't give Sri Lanka a chance thereafter, cruising to the target with Bairstow, who was returning to the Test side, scoring the winning runs, unbeaten on 35.
Skipper Joe Root will be pleased, having led from the front with a spectacular double century. Sri Lanka had the advantage of winning the toss and opting to bat, but blew it with a poor outing first up being bowled out for 135. With England piling on the runs thereafter, they always were playing catch up. Although the Lankan batsmen showed stoic resilience in the second innings starring Lahiru Thirimanne and Angelo Mathews, Dom Bess and Jack Leach ensured England weren't chasing too many runs in the end.
Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 135 (Dinesh Chandimal 28, Angelo Mathews 27; Dom Bess 5-30, Stuart Broad 3-20) & 359 (Lahiru Thirimanne 111; Kusal Perera 62; Jack Leach 5-122, Dom Bess 3-100) lost to England 421 (Joe Root 228, Dan Lawrence 73; Dilruwan Perera 4-129, Lasith Embuldeniya 3-176) & & 76/3 (Jonny Bairstow 35*, Daniel Lawrence 21*; Lasith Embuldeniya 2-29) by seven wickets.