Twitter Reactions: Joe Root nearly nullifies Sri Lankan lead as Embuldeniya picks seven on an evenly poised day

Twitter Reactions: Joe Root nearly nullifies Sri Lankan lead as Embuldeniya picks seven on an evenly poised day

The ease with which the English skipper tackled the leg-spinner, who managed to give a scare to almost every other batsmen without exception, was nothing but a testament of his mastery.

Joe Root
Joe Root. (Photo by Philip Brown/Popperfoto/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

England finished just 42 runs in the red at the end of Day 3 after Joe Root became the pivot of the visitors’ response through another solid, masterful knock at the Galle International Stadium. Picking up from where he left the previous day – 67 off 77 – Root continued with his immaculacy against the Sri Lankan spin: sweeping, reverse-sweeping with artistic control. It was Embuldeniya who broke the century-stand between Bairstow and Root, as he managed to induce a faint edge from the former, who could add only 4 runs to his overnight 24 before giving a catch in the slips.

Dan Lawrence failed to carry his magnificent form from the first Test as he became the fourth prey of the left-arm spinner, who came around the wicket and got one turn sharply to find an outside edge, which was taken by Thrimanne at slip. Meanwhile, it was a gentle punch towards the midwicket off Perera that led Root to get to his 19th Test ton; his third against Sri Lanka. Despite the fall of two wickets from the other end, Root denied to drop his hands and continued negotiating spinners with ease that would make a subcontinent batsmen proud.

Root’s 19th nullifies Sri Lankan lead

His scoring pace did mitigate, although he got Jos Buttler, who gave him an able hand of support, thereby ensuring that England did not lose another before they went to lunch at 181/4. After return, Buttler showed courage as he tried a few ambitious reverse-sweeps against the spinners apart from driving and cutting Fernando to the boundary. Contributing 55 of the 97 that he added for the fifth wicket with Root, he fell as Ramesh Mendis’ maiden Test wicket while attempting another reverse-sweep.

Buttler had previously survived a similar call when one of his reverse-sweeps was deflected off his boots towards the leg slip, however, he survived courtesy of the replays that showed the ball had touched the ground before lobbing. With replays confirming that there was no ground involved, he was not lucky the second time when the ball ricocheted off his boot to Fernando at the short forward leg. The new man, Sam Curran, lived dangerously, surviving a close LBW appeal off Perera, before falling to Embuldeniya at the stroke of Tea for 13.

Embuldeniya shines with seven

Resuming from 252/6 after Tea, Dom Bess frustrated the opponents, adding 81 from 172 with Root. Much to Sri Lanka’s dismay, they allowed Root to survive when he had given them a chance in the slip, only for Thirimanne to fail to reach it. In his otherwise spotless innings, Root notched up his consecutive 150-plus score, reaching the landmark with another perfectly-executed sweep off Embuldeniya.

The ease with which the English skipper tackled the leg-spinner, who managed to give a scare to almost every other batsmen without exception, was nothing but a testament of his mastery. It was towards the fag end of the day that Dom Bess (32 from 95) gloved Embuldeniya to Thirimanne. He then removed Mark Wood to claim a seven-for, whereas Thirimanne, to whom Wood’s catch went, became the first Sri Lankan to grab five catches in an innings.

At the other end, when another double looked approaching for Root, he stopped his knock at 186 rather anticlimactically as he failed to make his ground in time after he played one towards short leg, where Oshada Fernando showed great awareness and accuracy through a direct hit on the stumps. England went to stumps at 339/9.

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