England stretch lead to 206 after top order collapse
COLOMBO (Reuters) – England suffered a top order collapse before reaching 110 for four, an overall lead of 206 runs, at lunch on day three of the third and final Test against Sri Lanka on Sunday.
Chasing a 3-0 series sweep, the tourists lost Keaton Jennings to the very first delivery of the day from Dilruwan Perera, who struck twice more to keep Sri Lanka in the contest.
Ben Stokes was lucky to be batting on 32 at the break, having been dismissed twice and then brought back after Lakshan Sandakan was found to have overstepped on both occasions.
Jos Buttler was batting on 38 at the other end, having combined with Stokes to steady the English innings with their 71-run partnership for the fifth wicket.
Earlier, Perera jolted England when he trapped Jennings lbw for one immediately after play began at the Sinhalese Sports Club.
The off-spinner dismissed Rory Burns for seven in identical manner and substitute fielder Kaushal Silva took a sharp catch at short leg to dismiss Jonny Bairstow, who followed his first innings 110 with 15 in the second, as England slumped to 35-3.
England’s crisis further deepened when Joe Root offered a return catch to Malinda Pushpakumara to depart for seven.
Buttler, then on 27, was adjudged leg-before to Dhananjaya de Silva but the batsman managed to overturn the decision after replays confirmed the ball would have sailed over the stumps.
Stokes was caught in cover when on 22 and then in the slip in the final over before lunch but the all-rounder survived after replays confirmed Sandakan had overstepped.