(Reuters) – James Anderson took six wickets as England dismissed Sri Lanka on the stroke of tea for a well-compiled first innings score of 381 on the second day of the second and final test at Galle International Stadium on Saturday.
Sri Lanka frustrated the tourists with their final four wickets, adding 138 to the total – runs that could prove vital later on a wicket that is expected to start crumbling under the blazing hot sun.
The experienced Anderson showed excellent control and guile to claim 6-40 in 29 overs, strangling the Sri Lanka batsmen with his tight line and length, and forcing them into errors.
He removed centurion Angelo Mathews (110) early in the day after a review by England captain Joe Root – which came following much debate – for a caught behind.
But any thoughts it would precipitate a Sri Lanka collapse were ended by fighting innings from Niroshan Dickwella (92) and Dilruwan Perera (67).
Left-hander Dickwella was denied a first test century when he tried to launch a wider Anderson delivery over mid-off but was caught in that position by a diving Jack Leach.
Suranga Lakmal lasted only two balls before picking out Zak Crawley in the gully as Anderson got just reward for his hard toil.
Fast bowler Mark Wood (3-84) was also among the wickets as he ensured a test debut duck for Ramesh Mendis and induced an edge from Lasith Embuldeniya to Root at first slip.
Perera was the last man out, caught in the deep by Leach off Sam Curran, meaning it is the first time ever all 10 wickets in an innings have fallen to seamers in Galle.
Sri Lanka will be pleased with their first innings total though and will now look to put England under pressure with the ball as the wicket starts to turn, bringing the home spinners into the game.
There was little joy for the England slow bowlers with Dom Bess and Jack Leach collectively bowling 64 overs without success and 195 runs conceded.
England won the first test at the same venue by seven wickets.
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