Sri Lanka vs England: All you need to know from day four in Kandy

England are pushing for victory but Angelo Mathews kept Sri Lanka in the hunt in Kandy, plus Keaton Jennings produced two moments of brilliance at short leg on day four. Here’s all you need to know…


The Report

Jack Leach took four wickets as England closed in on a series-clinching victory over Sri Lanka on day four of the second Test – the hosts closing on 226-7 and still 75 short of their target – writes Sam Drury.

Sri Lanka vs England

November 18, 2018, 4:15am

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Moment of the day

Sri Lankan batsmen were left dumbfounded, not once but twice as Keaton Jennings played his part in a pair of jaw-dropping catches at short leg.

The first was an incredible one-handed reaction catch, keeping his balance as his body weight went right to cling on with his left hand when Dhananjaya de Silva turned the ball to leg, leaving Sri Lanka reeling on 16-2.

However, it was the second moment, soon after lunch, that was arguably the more important to the outcome of the match. Dimuth Karunaratne and Angelo Mathews had put on 77 to get the hosts back into the game and the early threat of the England bowlers had all but vanished.

The breakthrough came though through a staggering piece of fielding. Karunaratne swept, Jennings dived and though the catch did not stick, he was able to parry the ball to Ben Foakes to complete the catch. The scorebook will read ‘caught Foakes, bowled Rashid’ but it was all about Jennings.

Stat of the day

Dimuth Karunaratne has faced more balls per dismissal (109.2), has more scores of 50+ (6) and a higher average (60.11) than any other opener in 2018 (min. 10 innings). (CricViz)

Talking point

This Test may still be hanging in the balance going into the final day but with Sam Curran off the field all day as a precaution due to discomfort in his side, thoughts are already turning to the match in Colombo and how England would try to replace the 20-year-old all-rounder.

Although he has bowled relatively few overs in the series so far – and in fact it was actually while batting that Curran appeared to sustain the injury – side strains are not something any bowler would want to take chances with, so it is possible the youngster may not be available to bowl at all in the third Test.

Michael Atherton argued that Curran’s form with the bat means he could be included purely as a batsman. However, would he be ahead of Jonny Bairstow or Joe Denly if England did opt for an out-and-out batsman? And would England really want a specialist batsman at No 8? The other alternative would be to move Ben Foakes down to eight, but given his form in the series that would seem harsh.

Chris Woakes would be the closest to a like-for-like replacement given his ability with bat as well as ball, but Stuart Broad and Olly Stone would also be pushing for selection if England decide they need to keep at least three seam options. One thing is for sure, the selectors will not be short of options even if Curran is not fit to bowl.

What they said

KEATON JENNINGS: “We are really positive. Hopefully our game-plan will prevail. It is set up to be a really good Test – the last four days have been amazing to watch and it is set up to be a thriller.”

MAHELA JAYAWARDENE: “England will have to bowl really, really badly and Dickwella will have to produce something special for this game to change. It has been a huge swing since tea. This is what Test cricket is all about. You can’t lose your concentration.”

MICHAEL ATHERTON: “[Mathews] is a top-class player. It has interested me how he has come back into the side after being publicly shamed really, left out for fitness reasons. He gives nothing in the field and looks a lonely figure at times patrolling in the deep, but there is no sense of him sulking with the bat.”

Tweets of the day

England went into this session in almost identical circumstances to the 5th day at Edgbaston this year. India needed 84 then, Sri Lanka 82 today. 5 wickets needed for England on both occasions. #SLvEng

Angelo Mathews says he gives his team 100 percent chance to win second Test with the ball soft and wicket slow. ‘Just one partnership is what is required. #SLvENG

Officially NOT worried anymore ……

Only 20 men have now taken more Test wickets for England than Moeen Ali. He now has 157. Monty (167) Tony Lock (174), Angus Fraser (177) next in line.

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