England completed a 2-0 series win over Sri Lanka after completing a thrilling six wicket victory on Monday. Chasing a tricky 164 for victory, England were 89-4 but opener Dom Sibley hit 56 not out to lead his side home.
Anderson in for Broad for the visitors
On the opening day of the second test the hosts won the toss and decided to bat. England replaced Stuart Broad with Jimmy Anderson and it was the 38-year-old who struck first having Kusal Perera(6) caught at slip.
Oshada Fernando(0) lasted just four balls before chopping on to leave Sri Lanka 7-2. The home side rallied to reach 76-2 before Anderson struck again to have Lahiru Thirimanne(43) caught behind.
Century for Angelo Mathews for the hosts
The hosts continued to build a useful total with a partnership of 117 which was dominated by a fine century from Angelo Mathews. The partnership was ended when Mark Wood trapped Dinesh Chandimal(52). On a flat pitch Sri Lanka reached the close on 229-4 with Mathews unbeaten on 107.
England made early inroads on the second morning with Mathews adding just three before he became another victim for Anderson. Dilruwan Perera made a useful 67 as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 381 with Anderson taking 6-40.
Crawley and Sibley continue to struggle against spin
England’s openers woes against left arm spinners continued when Zac Crawley(5) and Dom Sibley(0) perished to Embuldeniya to leave them 5-2. The visitors once again were rescued by captain Joe Root. The skipper alongside Jonny Bairstow added an unbroken 93 to see England to 98-2 at the close.
England lost Bairstow(28) and Lawrence(3) early on day three but Root and Jos Buttler flourished before Buttler(55) gave Mendis his maiden test wicket. Dom Bess made 64 useful runs down the lower order, but another outstanding innings from Root was ended with the last ball of the day when the skipper was run out for 186.
Embuldeniya ties England up in knots
England added five further runs to their overnight total on day four as the visitors were bowled out for 344, 37 runs behind. The outstanding left armer Embuldeniya claimed 7-137 and was once again the outstanding bowler of the Sri Lankan attack.
With a useful first innings lead on a pitch that was always offering help to the spinners, Sri Lanka slumped to 78-8 with Bess and Leach tying the hosts up in knots. Sri Lanka were indebted to Embuldeniya(40)- this time with the bat- as Sri Lanka were dismissed for 126. Bess finishing with 4-49, Leach 4-59 and Root 2-0. A rare sight of all ten wickets falling to spin.
Set a tricky 164 for victory
Requiring a tricky 164 for victory England made a steady start before Crawley(13) fell to Embulieniya. A run a ball 29 from Jonny Bairstow offered a positive approach for the visitors before he was trapped lbw by Embulieniya.
The man of the series Root(2) made his way out to the middle and for once failed after being bowled around his legs. Embulieniya struck again to remove Lawrence(2) to pick up ten wickets in the match.
With the score on 89-4 the match was on a knife edge and could off gone either way. However, an unbroken fifth wicket partnership of 75 between Sibley and Buttler steered England across the line with a day to spare.
Sibley looking back to his best
Opener Sibley who had struggled all through this series against spin looked a more assured player and back to his best. He played the reverse sweep and sweep shots to perfection and his match winning innings was most welcome, coming into this innings under massive amount of pressure to succeed.
Sibley received some excellent support from Buttler- another player who has been under pressure to come up with the goods. The spotlight has always been on Buttler’s wicketkeeping, which in this series has improved immensely.
Having said that, you can never knock the man’s performances with the bat. Coming in at 89-4 there was a lot of pressure on his shoulders, but once again he delivered.