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By Riley Taylor

Day 3 Scorecard:

England 342 (Foakes 107, D Perera 5-75) & 322-6 (Jennings 146 not out, Stokes 62, Herath 2-59)

Sri Lanka 203 (Mathews 52, Moeen 4-66) & 15-0 (Silva 8 not out)

Keaton Jennings scored his second Test century and Ben Stokes made 62 as England declared to give Sri Lanka a target of 462 to win the first Test.

Jennings scored 146 not out and was ably backed by former county teammate Stokes as England declared late on day three.

England resumed 38-0 as Rory Burns and Jennings continued to build on their commanding overnight position. The openers started slowly, scoring 22 in 11 overs. England then suffered a collapse of three wickets for 14 runs, starting with Burns being run out by Dimuth Karunaratne for 23. Moeen Ali then came and went as he chipped a catch straight to Rangana Herath off Dilruwan Perera at mid-on for three. Root then edged through to wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella off Herath for three, leaving England at 74-3.

This brought Stokes together with Jennings and the pair rallied with a partnership of 107 to heap pressure back onto Sri Lanka. Jennings constructing a steady half-century in the process. Sri Lanka did have their chances to dismiss Jennings, a leg before wicket appeal being turned down and not reviewed by captain Dinesh Chandimal, replays showed it would have hit middle-stump.

It took a beautiful delivery to get the breakthrough for Sri Lanka, Perera pitching a ball on leg stump only for it to spin past Stokes’ bat and hit off-stump. With a chance of rain and thunderstorms on day four and five, England wanted quick runs. Jos Buttler obliged with a couple of lusty blows off the bowling of Dhananjaya de Silva.

Jennings reached his hundred three overs after the tea break, vindicating the selectors decision to keep him in the squad after a long period of poor form. England continued to add runs as the Sri Lankan bowlers began to tire. The only chance for Sri Lanka coming off de Silva as he dropped a caught and bowled chance when Jennings hammered a shot back at him.

There was finally some glory for Sri Lanka, three overs after taking the new ball as Herath drew the edge of Buttler and Kaushal Silva took the catch at silly point. This brought first-innings hero Ben Foakes to the middle and he added 61 with Jennings as England headed towards a declaration. When Foakes fell for a brisk 37, caught by Kusal Mendis off Akila Dananjaya, Joe Root declared with seven overs left in the day.

Despite Root mixing around his bowlers, with five being used, Karunaratne and Silva negotiated Sri Lanka through to stumps, finishing on 15-0 as England took a commanding lead going into day four.

More Overtime Cricket News:

Day 2 Report:

Edited by Ben Knapton

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July 2024