Twitter Reactions: Keaton Jennings’ stands tall as England eye elusive away Test victory

With Chandimal not on the field, Sri Lanka looked a deflated side.

Keaton Jennings
Keaton Jennings. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

England are on the verge of the elusive overseas Test victory. If they manage to bundle out Sri Lanka in the next couple of days, which is the likeliest prospect, this will be their first away Test win since 2016. Moreover, this kind of a performance in the first ever game after Alastair Cook‘s retirement makes the victory even sweeter for the Brits. Coming back to what transpired in the game on the third day, Keaton Jennings was the hero for them.

The left-handed opener has certainly repaid the faith selectors and the team management showed in him. After scoring a ton on debut in India, he managed to replicate similar heroics in Galle putting forth his sound technique against the spinners. Resuming at 38/0, it was important for the visitors to bat Sri Lanka completely out of the game.

Rory Burns showed resilience for some time before being part of yet another unfortunate dismissal as he was run-out this time. Though during his 23-run knock, he displayed good composure to retain his place for the upcoming games. But once the opening partnership was broken, a couple more quick wickets reduced England to 74/3 as the home side hoped to stage a fightback in the game.

Stokes and Jennings keep Sri Lanka at bay

However, Ben Stokes looked determined not to throw his wicket away and joined hands with Keaton Jennings who was looking comfortable in the middle. The couple received some snorters from the veteran Rangana Herath and Dilruwan Perera but they survived that phase and added 107 runs for the fourth wicket. The latter sent back Stokes for a well-made 62 after which Jos Buttler came in and played without any pressure.

Meanwhile, Jennings concentrated very hard and notched up a career-saving century in the last session of the day. His knock proved today why England selectors persisted with him despite looking ugly during the India series. More importantly, the left-hander didn’t throw his wicket away after the milestone and kept batting patiently.

Buttler and Ben Foakes had some fun in the middle as they stitched 77 and 61 runs with the centurion. England eventually decided to declare at 322/6 at the fag end of the day and set 462-run target for Sri Lanka in Herath’s final international game.

Openers survive a brief phase

Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva, in their second essay, were more cautious and survived the tricky seven-over period as the hosts ended the day on 15/0. It looks unlikely that they will be able to gun down the target as the skipper didn’t even take the field today due to his groin injury and it remains to be seen if he will bat in the second innings. They will hope to put up a fight in this game and leave everything to the rain gods who have surprisingly stayed away after threatening in the lead up to the game.

Here’s how Twitter reacted during the day: