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September 9, 2019
Sri Lanka v England: Tourists hold nerve to secure series whitewash
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Sri Lanka v England: Tourists hold nerve to secure series whitewash

Third Test, Colombo (day four)
England 336 (Bairstow 110, Stokes 57, Sandakan 5-95) & 230 (Buttler 64, Dilruwan 5-88)
Sri Lanka 240 (Karunaratne 83, Dhananjaya 73, Rashid 5-49) & 284 (K Mendis 86, Roshen 65, Leach 4-72, Moeen 4-92)
England won by 42 runs

England held their nerve to complete a first series whitewash in Sri Lanka with a tense 42-run victory in the third Test in Colombo.

Kusal Mendis hit a superb 86 and Roshen Silva made a fine 65 to frustrate the tourists before Jack Leach ran out Kusal to seemingly restore control.

Moeen Ali (4-92) struck twice to put England on the brink until a defiant last-wicket stand of 58 from the hosts.

But Leach (4-72) snared Suranga Lakmal lbw to bowl out Sri Lanka for 284.

England’s 3-0 victory is the first time they have won every Test in a series in Sri Lanka and is only the third time – after India earlier this year and Australia in 2004 – that a touring side have beaten the hosts by that scoreline.

Spirited Sri Lanka push nervy England close

Sri Lanka resumed on 53-4 and, in contrast to their meek collapse late on day three, showed tremendous defiance and skill in nearly pulling off the highest successful chase at the Sinhalese Sports Ground.

Kusal and Roshen capitalised on some poor bowling by England’s spinners in the morning session, remaining largely untroubled despite the pitch providing more turn than in previous days.

Where Kusal was more positive in striking eight fours and one six, Roshen was his more watchful foil in rotating the strike to disrupt the bowlers, and both batsmen calmly repelled Ben Stokes’ short and fast barrage that had unsettled the top order the day before.

With plan B having failed, Root had little option but to revert to plan A and still Kusal and Roshen resisted, bringing up a superb century stand that was only ended by Leach’s stunning throw.

When Niroshan Dickwella fell to Leach and Moeen removed Dilruwan Perera and Roshen in quick succession to leave Sri Lanka 226-9, it looked as though England would have victory wrapped up comfortably before tea.

Yet number 11 Malinda Pushpakumara fought back, smacking six fours and a six in a sparkling 42 not out as Lakmal dug in at the other end, the Sri Lanka captain also successfully overturning after being given out lbw.

But Leach stuck to his task, finally straightening one past Lakmal’s defence and this time there was no reprieve as England celebrated in exhausted, joyous relief.

More to follow.

Source BBC News

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