Kandy: England put themselves in a strong position on Friday on the third day of the second Test against Sri Lanka before play was suspended by bad light.
England lost four wickets in the morning session, but captain Joe Root then hit his 15th Test hundred.
With the England top order perishing for the sweep shot, both the conventional and the reverse, Root took a different route playing straight. The 27-year-old Yorkshireman hit some elegant drives and powerful cuts but fell for the reverse sweep, ruled leg before wicket to Akila Dananjaya.
Dananjaya then dismissed first innings top-scorer Sam Curran when he bowled him to pick up his third five-wicket haul in Test cricket.
Adil Rashid drove the hat-trick ball to mid-off but lasted only 13 deliveries before being given out leg before wicket to Dananjaya. The batsman got a thick edge onto the pads but England didn’t have reviews to contest umpire Sundaram Ravi’s decision.
Dananjaya finished 6-106, his career best figures. His bowling has come under a cloud after being reported by match officials as suspect during the Test in Galle. The bowler is likely to miss the next Test because he has to go overseas for testing.
After the struggle before lunch, England recovered thanks to a 74-run stand between Root and Jos Buttler.
Root then added 82 runs for the seventh wicket with Ben Foakes, who was unbeaten on 51.
Root’s chanceless knock came as a big relief for England as he had accumulated only 52 runs in three innings in the series. On all three previous occasions, he had been dismissed by a left-arm spinner, but this time he tackled Malinda Pushpakumara well. It is his second Test hundred against Sri Lanka.
Suranga Lakmal, the lone seamer in the Sri Lankan attack, sent down only four overs in the innings as the hosts depended heavily on their four-pronged spin attack.
Sri Lanka need to win to stay alive in the three-match series after England took a 1-0 lead in Galle with a comprehensive 211-run win.
England have not won a test series in Sri Lanka since 2001.
England 1st innings 290 all out
Sri Lanka 1st innings 336 all out
England 2nd innings
J. Leach lbw Dilruwan Perera 1
R. Burns lbw Malinda Pushpakumara 59
K. Jennings c Dhananjaya de Silva b Akila Dananjaya 26
J. Root lbw Akila Dananjaya 124
B. Stokes lbw Dilruwan Perera 0
J. Buttler b Akila Dananjaya 34
M. Ali lbw Akila Dananjaya 10
B. Foakes Not Out 51
S. Curran b Akila Dananjaya 0
A. Rashid lbw Akila Dananjaya 2
J. Anderson Not Out 4
Extras (4b 9lb) 13
Total (76.0 overs) 324-9
Fall of Wickets: 1-4 Leach, 2-77 Jennings, 3-108 Burns, 4-109 Stokes, 5-183 Buttler, 6-219 Ali, 7-301 Root, 8-301 Curran, 9-305 Rashid
Bowling: Dilruwan Perera 19-2-87-2, Malinda Pushpakumara 26-1-97-1, Akila Dananjaya 23-0-106-6, Dhananjaya de Silva 4-0-7-0, Suranga Lakmal 4-0-14-0