Dom Sibley and Jos Buttler anchored a running chase after a nervous start when England defeated Sri Lanka six wickets in the second Test on Monday to beat the series 2-0. Sibley and Buttler had an unbeaten score of 75 points when England, struggling 89-4, reached their goal of 164 in an extended final session on the fourth day in Galle. The result earned England a second consecutive Test whitewash in Sri Lanka after winning all three matches on the island in 2018.
“Really proud of how calm we were,” said skipper Joe Root after being named man of the man and run for 228 and 186 strokes in the first and second tests respectively.
“Thanks to the bowlers for putting pressure on Sri Lanka. We are on an upward trend as a team and want to get better.”
England was given a deadline to finish after spinners Jack Leach and Dom Bess eliminated 126 from Sri Lanka in their second innings.
Left arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya claimed three wickets that gave Sri Lanka hope and aided him in his Test best match figures of 10-200.
Debutant spinner Ramesh Mendis got the key wicket from skipper Joe Root, who scored 11 after his second consecutive ton in England’s first innings of a total of 344, to add shock to the tourists.
Embuldeniya took on Zak Crawley for 13 and then ended Jonny Bairstow’s stay after a rapid fire of 29, putting England’s nerves on edge, but Sibley calmly moved on to his third Test half century.
Leach and Sibley each took four wickets to set up England’s victory.
The hosts started their second innings early in the day with a lead of 37, but that ended in the afternoon session.
Number 10 Embuldeniya scored at the top with 40, after taking seven wickets with his left arm spin to end England’s first innings at 344.
He was the only batsman to score more than 20 when Sri Lanka collapsed from 29 for one in its second innings.
Embuldeniya “good assets”
Embuldeniya put up some resistance with a ninth wicket stand of 48 with Suranga Lakmal, who failed to make 11, before Root took the last two wickets with his off-spin.
“He was excellent throughout the series and did all the hard work,” said stand-in skipper Dinesh Chandimal of his 24-year-old spinner.
“He always comes and asks how he can improve, so I am sure he will be a good asset in the future.”
Leach’s left arm spin got Kusal Perera stuck for 14 pounds in lbw, and off-spinner Bess sent Oshada Fernando back for three in the first session.
Centurion Angelo Mathews in the first innings was then pitched for five by Bess and Chandimal fell to Leach, with James Anderson taking an excellent running catch.
Previously, Dilruwan Perera held batsman Leach lbw overnight for one on just the 11th ball of the day after England resumed in Galle at 339 for nine.
Leach singled and No. 11 Anderson hit a boundary at Embuldeniya, who brought back the best marks of 7-137 in his ninth Test, to add five runs to the overnight score.
Anderson played a key role after his best bowling figures of 6-40 in Asia. The 38-year-old quick has 606 test wickets in 157 games.
Riding on Root’s double ton, England won the opening test of the resumed series, which kicked off last March but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
England are now heading to India for a series of four tests starting February 5 in Chennai. The first two tests are played to empty stadiums.
“With four more test matches on this tour, it’s very important that we don’t stand still and keep looking for improvements,” said Root.
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