England, thanks to James Anderson’s superb bowling figures of 6-40 helped the tourists keep in touch with their hosts on the second day of the second and final test against Sri Lanka. Anderson, who was rested for the first test win in Galle, rolled backed the years with a superb spell of bowling.
Anderson, the world’s leading wicket taker for seam bowlers made a mockery of his age and became the oldest player (38) to take a five wicket haul in tests. Critics had been circling the ‘Burnley Express’, saying that he wasn’t able to replicate his performances in home tests, away from home.
The Burnley Brian Lara, as he is also affectionately known by, has taken an impressive 49 wickets in just 14 tests away from home. Anderson’s brilliance was needed as spin twins Jack Leach and Dom Bess toiled. To put into context the pair send down 65 overs and conceding 195 runs.
To put that into context, their joint economy (Leach and Bess) was three runs over, which was more than double James Anderson’s (1.38 an over). Mark Wood was able to chip in with three wickets and Sam Curran one wicket as hosts Sri Lanka added another 152 runs to their total, before being dismissed for 381.
After their first innings showing in the first test, where they were shot out for just 135, hosts Sri Lanka will be delighted with their showing here. In reply to that impressive first innings total, England again fell into trouble as out of form pair of Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley both fell cheaply Lasith Embuldeniya.
Just like in the first game, England were indebted to their captain. Root, who scored a first test double century (228), followed that effort up with a counter attacking 67 off just 77 balls. That enterprising knock, helped Jonny Bairstow play a more watchful innings at the other end.
The Yorkshire man, will join his captain on 24 not out. An interesting days play, which leaves the test finely balanced.