Investec Second Test Match: England v Sri Lanka Day 3 (CLOSE)— 22 June 2014
Two late wickets from Moeen Ali helped England claw back some momentum as day three of the 2nd Investec Test Match ended with Sri Lanka on 213-4, a lead of 105.
After being dismissed relatively cheaply early on, England struggled to make regular breakthroughs throughout the day as the Sri Lankan batsmen dealt with everything thrown at them.
With Sri Lanka on 172-2 after tea and with a lead of 64, England were starting to wonder where their next wicket was coming from during a partnership of 79 between Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene when Moeen was introduced into the attack.
The off spinner had Sangakkara trapped in front of the stumps for 55 before bowling Lahiru Thirimanne with a beauty that turned past the outside edge on his second ball to make it 176-4 and change the game.
Sri Lanka had started the day well and were causing the England batsmen all sorts of problems but England were unable to find the same assistance from the pitch and the batsmen looked at relative ease until Stuart Broad found some reverse swing in the evening session.
Liam Plunkett had accounted for the two Sri Lankan openers earlier on, having both caught behind by Matt Prior but not before Sri Lanka had all but wiped out the first innings deficit of 108.
Kaushal Silva was the first to go, for 13, as Plunkett drew the right-hander into a defensive prod that caught the outside edge on the way through to Prior. Dimuth Karunaratne was undone by a short ball that he tried to get out of the way of, but the ball brushed his glove on the way through whilst still on the bat to send him on his way for a well-made 45.
Earlier in the day England had started the day 320-6, with the hope of pushing the score beyond 400 and take the lead well above 100.
However Angelo Mathews and Shaminda Eranga made full use of the pitch to keep the dangerous tail of England quiet as they added just 45 runs before being bowled out.
Chris Jordan, Broad, Plunkett and Jimmy Anderson all fell cheaply as Matt Prior looked on, stranded at the non-strikers end on 27 not out as England were all out for 365.
The bowling of Mathews who took 4-44 and Eranga 4-93 hinted that there was plenty in the pitch for the England bowlers and had some speculating that the game could even be over by the end of the third day but the England bowlers were unable to extract the same help as their counterparts.
The dangerous Mathews and Jayawardene made sure that Sri Lanka batted through to the close of play without suffering any more damage and they took a lead of 105 into the fourth day.