England sizzled and gained better control over Sri Lanka on a day that ended disappointingly due to rain. Resuming play after an hour-long delay in the morning, the home team was able to generate an early ray of hope at the gloomy Galle as Lasith Embuldeniya accounted for Jonny Bairstow‘s wicket on the second ball of the day’s play. Reaching out to the flighted delivery, Bairstow got a thick edge, and Kusal Mendis grabbed a marvelous low catch to ensure that the batsman did not add a run to his overnight score.
There were visible cracks on the pitch with dust rising as the ball pitched – as one would expect from a Galle track. However, with a still head, drawing himself to the pitch of the ball when needed, using the depth of the crease, and playing the deliveries right under the eyes, the Lankan bowlers were toiled hard by Joe Root, who maneuvered them with immense grace and calm. Making his debut, Dan Lawrence displayed his ability to learn quickly as he adopted the same template and oozed confidence during his 73-run knock.
Root and Lawrence solidify England
Having gone well past Sri Lanka’s first innings score, England went to Lunch 206 for 3, with Root only a run shy of his 18th century. Resuming after lunch, a gentle paddle off Perera brought the English skipper‘s drought of a century to an end – he scored the previous one in November 2019, and he reached his second century in the island nation. If England in the first session were dominant, in the second they were ruthless.
The Sri Lankan bowlers lacked discipline with the ball for almost the entire day as they pitched some way too short and failed to bowl as per the field. Hopping over them, Root stood his ground and increased his scoring pace in the second session, as he swept and cut the spinners with sheer class. Alongside him, Lawrence felt at home too and notched up his half-century as runs started to flow quickly.
Rain wipes off the third session
The ball turned square on occasions, beating the outside edge; hitting the pads on some occasions, and Lasith Embuldeniya was the lone one to reap some rewards as he kept pitching the deliveries in the correct areas. Although, luck did not favor him enough as despite inducing some edges and beating the batsmen, he could not bag the wickets Sri Lanka desperately wanted. Even when the bowlers created a chance, the fielders were negligent enough to not bank upon them.
Lawrence was resolute, however, he nonetheless gave a couple of chances to the opponents, who failed to capitalize. The drops did not prove too costly as he gloved Dilruwan Perera to Mendis, to bring the 173-run stand to an end. Jos Buttler patiently tackled the bowlers before England went to Tea with a healthy lead of 185, and Root unbeaten at 168. Subsequent showers meant that the play could not resume post-Tea, and England stood 320 for 4, at the close of the day’s play.
Here are the best tweets
Such an exciting 12 months for England, with India, Pakistan & Australia coming up. If @root66 can continue playing like this, we’ll be in a great place. And with Zak Crawley, @OPope32 & now @DanLawrence288 breaking through, the middle order has some real energy. Exciting times.
— Ian Bell (@Ian_Bell) January 15, 2021
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) January 15, 2021
— Russel Arnold (@RusselArnold69) January 15, 2021
Joe Root 🙌🏻 nothing else
— Danny Peacock (@dannypea) January 15, 2021
Great stuff from Joe Root today 💯👏🏼🏏 #SLvENG
— Beth⁷ (@SPRINGDAYLFTV) January 15, 2021
Joe Root looking as though he's benefiting from a focus away from 1 day particularly T20 cricket!
— Andrew D. Hancock (@AndrewDHancock) January 15, 2021
Fab 4 Highest Score in WTC
— Tentaran.com (@mytentaran) January 15, 2021
— MaSK MaN (@PhaniBhushan21) January 15, 2021
First time in a long time I've seen Joe Root play this well, good to see him back in the 100s 🏏
— 🎯BC Blink 180🎯 (@BC_Blink180) January 15, 2021
Great innings from joe root ‘great to see him back in tip top form 😎👏🏻👏🏻
— dean robinson (@deanrobbo62) January 15, 2021
What a knock by Joe Root that is btw, 168* and still going.
— Shane Lovell (@Shovell96) January 15, 2021
Joe Root has not lost it 🏏
— Matty Egan (@matty_egan) January 15, 2021
Joe Root could go past Lara. #ENGvsSL
— Jack (@Jackkk11) January 15, 2021
Joe Root is England’s greatest ever batsmen. End of tweet.
— alex (@alexbreeze_) January 15, 2021
Joe Root converting 50s to 100s is a rare sight.
— Dennis Gabba (@DennisCricket_) January 15, 2021
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