Rain and the subsequent wet outfield ensured that there was no play possible after Tea at the Galle International Stadium, on Friday (January 15), as England ended Day 2 of the first Test at 320 for 4, with a lead of 185.
The day had already started late due to multiple spells of rain. However, with both the Lunch and Tea break getting postponed, almost four hours of play was possible on a day where Joe Root not only went on to register his 18th Test century but also registered the highest score by an English batsman in Sri Lanka - surpassing Kevin Pietersen's 151 and finishing the day unbeaten on 168*.
Sri Lanka managed to snuff out Jonny Bairstow early when he got an outside edge to a forward defensive shot off Lasith Embuldeniya in the first over of the day, departing on his overnight score of 47, ending the third wicket alliance between him and Root on 114. However, with England only four short of Sri Lanka's first innings score, they still maintained a commanding position in the contest.
Root got a reprieve early in the day when the on-field umpire adjudged him not out for a legbefore appeal. Sri Lanka took the review but couldn't overturn the decision which concluded on umpire's call. He went on to make the most of the opportunity and through a resilient display in the first session marched on to 99 at Lunch. He advantage of the deliveries pitched short and comfortably played his cuts and pulls off the backfoot.
At the other end, he found the able company of Dan Lawrence, who displayed a similar application on debut albeit a slightly more attacking approach. He showed the willingness to break free even against deliveries that were pitched on good length - one of which included a swipe through the mid wicket region for a six to bring up the pair's half-century stand.
The duo swapped roles post Lunch and Root, through multiple sweep shots produced more scoring opportunities. That also forced the spinners to alter their lines and were erred into pulling their lengths back more often. Lawrence was dropped twice through the course of his innings - on 63 and 70 - but failed to make use of the opportunities as he eventually fell on 73 while inside edging a defensive shot off the backfoot and allowing the forward short leg and easy catch.
Root too got another chance when his sweep shot hit the forward short leg fielder on his body as he was looking to evade. Embuldeniya, who was the most impressive of the Sri Lankan spinners, managed to induce the edges and even beat the bat often but has been rewarded with only three wickets, having bowled 38 overs. As the fourth wicket partnership of 173 progressed, Sri Lanka's errors too increased - with bowlers overstepping and pitching shorter and the fielders not taking the rare opportunities that came their way. As a result, the hosts could pick only two wickets in the day.
Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 135 (Dinesh Chandimal 28, Angelo Mathews 27; Dom Bess 5-30, Stuart Broad 3-20) trail England 320/4 (Joe Root 168*, Dan Lawrence 73; Lasith Embuldeniya 3-131) by 185 runs.