|Second Test, Pallekele (day two)|
|England 290 & 0-0|
|Sri Lanka 336: Roshen 85, Karunaratne 63, Dhananjaya 59, Leach 3-70, Rashid 3-75|
|Sri Lanka lead by 46 runs|
Roshen Silva hit a resolute 85 to frustrate England and give Sri Lanka a lead of 46 on day two of an evenly poised second Test in Pallekele.
Resuming on 26-1, Dimuth Karunaratne and Dhananjaya de Silva made half-centuries before England reduced the hosts to 165-6 shortly after lunch.
But Roshen negated England’s spinners and forged four defiant lower-order partnerships to take Sri Lanka to 336.
Nightwatchman Jack Leach played out the last over as England closed on 0-0.
England’s four spinners took nine wickets between them, with the other dismissal via a magnificent Ben Stokes run-out, meaning this is the first time since 1974 an England seamer failed to take a wicket in the first innings.
The tourists were awarded five penalty runs during Sri Lanka’s innings after Roshen was deemed to have deliberately run short. They were added to their first-innings 285.
On a testing pitch that is still producing sharp turn, England will have to bat with the concentration and determination Sri Lanka showed to post a challenging fourth-innings target.
England lead the three-match series 1-0 and are looking for their first away series win under captain Joe Root.
Superb Sri Lanka grab lead
With Sri Lanka six down and trailing by more than 100 runs, England were on top and would have been hopeful of securing a substantial lead, but the hosts’ lower order fought back superbly.
After just about surviving Adil Rashid’s testing post-lunch spell, Roshen calmly played with the spin to keep the scoreboard ticking along and received stoic support in compiling stands of 46, 41, 56 and 28 for the last four wickets.
Niroshan Dickwella emulated Jos Buttler’s approach on day one, using sweeps and reverse sweeps to knock the spinners off their length to make 25 before sweeping over a full Joe Root delivery that skidded into his pads.
Once Leach trapped Dilruwan Perera lbw for 15, Roshen opened up. He hit Moeen Ali down the ground for six and punished an increasingly ragged England alongside Akila Dananjaya, who made a fluent 31 off 39 balls before falling lbw to Moeen.
Added to Karunaratne and Dhananjaya’s patient partnership of 96 in the morning, this was comfortably Sri Lanka’s best day of the series.
England did not bowl particularly badly but their spinners were inconsistent, producing too many bad balls between the unplayable ones and allowing the hosts to alleviate the pressure.
Stokes and Rashid’s magic moments
England were laboured in the first hour of the day, their spinners bowling too full and taking only the wicket of nightwatchman Malinda Pushpakumara to show for their toil as he heaved Moeen Ali to mid-wicket.
Yet with Karunaratne and Dhananjaya smoothly accumulating, Stokes produced two pieces of fielding brilliance.
First, Dhananjaya guided fine towards point and set off. Stokes swept in to gather, throw across his body and hit the one stump he had to aim at, with Karunaratne two yards short.
The all-rounder then took a fine one-handed catch to his left at slip as Jack Leach removed Kusal Mendis for the third innings in a row.
Rashid put the hosts in further trouble after lunch with a fine spell of 2-19 from 10 overs.
The leg-spinner found bite and bounce to have Dhananjaya caught behind before an equally exquisite delivery drew Angelo Mathews forward, with the impressive Ben Foakes taking a fine catch at the second attempt behind the stumps.
Rashid finished with 3-75, returning to end Roshen’s resistance as he picked out Moeen at mid-on.
Wait, didn’t England score 285?
They did. But the tourists were awarded five penalty runs following a bizarre moment in Sri Lanka’s innings.
Roshen cut Leach towards the boundary and, thinking he had picked up four, did not ground his bat at the non-striker’s end after jogging through for the first run.
However, Moeen prevented the boundary and Roshen set off back to the striker’s end from a yard outside the crease.
Umpire Marais Erasmus declared a dead ball and gave England five penalty runs, ruling that Roshen had deliberately run short, perhaps believing he had done so to guarantee he maintained the strike.
‘England need to be disciplined’ – analysis
Former England captain Michael Vaughan on The Cricket Social
England will be aggressive on day three. They will look at the likes of Sam Curran and Jos Buttler’s innings but I hope they take a leaf out of Curran’s book, who was disciplined early in his knock.
If they come out and play their shots, they could lose two or three wickets quite quickly.
There is nothing about the Sri Lanka spinners which should worry England too much – they don’t have a Muttiah Muralitharan or Shane Warne – but the tourists do have a collapse in them.
They should have it within them to bat a decent number of overs and then it’s over to Sri Lanka. But if England find themselves 100-5, as they often do, I don’t think they’ll get out of that when you consider the 46-run lead.