Okay! 2-0 to England. Can they make it 3-0 in a week's time? Sri Lanka's woes continue to deepen but can they muster some courage and avoid a whitewash at least? A draw might do their batsmen a world of good. Join us for all the action from the third and final Test at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo from Friday. November 23, 2018 at 10 am local (0430 GMT). ADIOS! TAKE CARE!
Victorious England captain, JOE ROOT says that England were great in the whole game, being under pressure at times but even during those moments, the team responded well, by staying calm and getting the momentum back. Gives that to the close games against India, which helped the side to learn how to play under pressure. Praises the seniors in Stokes and Buttler for keeping the team in good spirits even under pressure. On the first innings' batting, Joe says that before the series began, the talk was about playing bold cricket and the results are now there for everyone to see. Is happy to see players pushing each other for spots in the playing XI and praises the hard work put in by everyone. Wants to work even harder, build consistency and get to that number 1 Test ranking. Hopes to replicate this performance in the third Test but is also guarding himself against complacency and wants his team to grab every opportunity to inflict a whitewash.
Sri Lankan skipper, Suranga Lakmal, feels that both sides played good cricket and England deserved to win. Cannot fault anything in his team, he says but when stressed further, he adds that the unit gave its 100 percent. Russel Arnold then asks questions to him in Sinhalese but sadly for us, there is no translation.
Now, the bowling. 40 wickets fell in this game - 38 WERE TAKEN BY SPINNERS - THE MOST IN THE HISTORY OF THE SPORT. Jennings' dismissal by Lakmal and Karunaratne's run out by Stokes were the only non-spin dismissals. Sri Lanka prepared spinning tracks where their own spinners thrived but unfortunately for them, their opposition thrived even more. While it was a team effort, Akila's 6-fer and Leach's 5-fer in their respective team's second innings stood out. In the end, the difference was the way the teams batted against spin - with England being way better. Time now for the presentation...
Karunaratne, Mathews, Roshen and Dickwella hung in there, getting in useful stands and at one stage, it seemed like the target was gettable. At 221/5, with 80 needed, the Lankans were looking as the prime favourites. But then, Mathews fell and Dilruwan followed. There was some drama as rain spoilt the party, preventing a Day 4 finish but this morning, the visitors barely took time to wrap it up.
Chasing what seemed like a massive total, the Lankans were 26/3 in the 8th over. Many might have thought at that stage - wow. Game over on Saturday itself. But then, began a massive fightback.
With just 46 runs adrift, it became a one-inning shootout. This time skipper Joe Root came to the fore, with a clinical 124 to shore the top order while towards the end, Foakes' 65 started taking the game away from the Lankans. Eventually, a target of 301 was set.
About the match then. England won their 7th toss in a row and went about the 'Australian' style of batting on a spinning track - ATTACK. They lived by the sword and died by it, mustering 290, riding high on Buttler's 63 and a crucial 64 from Sam Curran. Sri Lanka started cautiously in contrast but then lost their way in the middle, only to recover to a 46-run lead, thanks to a patient 85 from Roshen Silva. That also included a 5-run penalty.
Aha... Ian Ward gets someone else as well, for a chat. It is Ben Foakes. Foakes says that England were in a tricky situation last evening but is now happy with the series win. On his batting in this country, Ben says that it was challenging but he tried to play late and read the ball carefully. So far, he adds, he is enjoying his outing. Credits batting coach Mark Ramprakash for making things easier and maintaining a pleasant atmosphere in the dressing room.
The three musketeers first up, as addressed by Ward - the spin trio - Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid and Jack Leach. Leach says that it is a great feeling and credits Rashid and Moeen for helping him out while bowling. Adds that on Saturday, England had to battle hard but that is Test cricket. Adil Rashid says that it was great fun with three spinners in the side. Is proud to be part of a team that has made history. Moeen agrees that Dickwella's wicket was the big one needed this morning and England wanted it desperately. Praises Ben Foakes in the second innings for giving those extra runs to the bowlers in the end and even Sam Curran for his crucial knock in the first innings.
Done and dusted in 35 minutes. Wow. Can get a full day to myself, if my manager permits me to do so. Leaving aside personal jubilation, getting back to the match, this is the first Test series win for England in Sri Lanka after 16 years. Boy, have they deserved it thoroughly. Terrific moment for Joe Root, who has his first Test series win outside home. The players are currently doing a lap of honour around the ground and Ian Ward is frantically searching for a few players with whom he can have a chat.
Leach to Pushpakumara, OUT! That has gone off the face of the bat! ENGLAND WIN BY 57 RUNS AND TAKE AN UNASSAILABLE 2-0 LEAD IN THE 3-MATCH SERIES! Well done, Jack Leach. A fifer in just his 6th inning. He tosses this around off and as soon as the ball lands, there is an explosion around the surface. Pushpakumara looks to drive and the ball goes straight off the face of the bat, back to the bowler, who runs to his left to complete the formalities. Malinda does not move, he reckons that it is a bump ball. Replays prove him otherwise. Congratulations, England!
IS THAT THE MATCH? Jack Leach and the entire English team are confident that they have the series in the bag. The umpires have reviewed the caught and bowled decision upstairs. Did the ball bounce? The SOFT SIGNAL IS OUT.
J Leach to Pushpakumara, Full and outside off, MP looks to sweep but misses as the ball turns away by a big margin.
J Leach to Dananjaya, Comes down the track and pushes it towards long on for a single.
J Leach to Dananjaya, Full and around middle once more, watchfully defended.
J Leach to Pushpakumara, TOP EDGE, SAFE. Full and around middle, Malinda looks to sweep but gets a top edge. Luckily for him, there is no one patrolling the backward square leg area. A single taken. 59 more to win now.
J Leach to Pushpakumara, Full and outside off, Pushpakumara feels for the ball and gets beaten.
END OF OVER: 73 | 0 Runs 0 Wkt | SL: 241/9
M Ali to Dananjaya, Pushes this towards point.
M Ali to Dananjaya, The batsman was beaten and missed the line of the delivery.
M Ali to Dananjaya, Full and around off, Akila comes forward and prods ahead.
M Ali to Dananjaya, Nearly got him! But too much turn. Full and tossed up outside off, Dananjaya comes down the track but is nowhere near the pitch of the ball. Swings hard but misses. However due to the extravagant turn, Foakes takes a little bit of a while before taking the bails off.
M Ali to Dananjaya, Outside off, pushed towards cover.
M Ali to Dananjaya, Full and around off, Akila has a wild swing, only to miss.