Impressive knocks from Jos Buttler and Sam Curran helped steer England out of trouble on day one of the second Test with Sri Lanka. England captain Joe Root won the toss in Kandy and elected to bat first, but that decision looked like being the wrong call when the tourists slumped to 89-4 on what was proving a spin friendly pitch.
However, Buttler then arrived at the crease and helped get the England innings back on track with a quick-fire knock of 63 off just 67 balls, although, when he was dismissed, the tourists still sat in a precarious position on 171-7.
Indeed, reaching 200 looked like being England’s main target when Curran entered the middle, but he ended up finishing as the tourist’s top-scorer on 64, with his knock including six sixes, before he was eventually the final man out as England finished on 285.
In response, Sri Lanka lost opener Jayan Silva off the bowling of Jack Leach for just six, before they eventually ended the day on 26-1, trailing England’s first innings total by 259 runs.
It seems the hosts face a tough task in chasing down England’s score and they will resume day two with Dimuth Karunaratne (19no) and nightwatchman Malinda Pushpakumara (1no) at the crease.
If England do go on to win the match then they will have wrapped up the series with a game to spare and it would also be their first series victory away from home under Root’s captaincy.