(updates at closing)
Jan.23 (Reuters) – James Anderson took six wickets to help Sri Lanka win 381, but England’s openers fell short again as the tourists closed the second day of the second and final test on 98 for two in response to Galle International Stadium on Saturday.
Joe Root scored a breezy, undefeated 67 and will resume on the third morning with Jonny Bairstow, who has 24.
The pair put in 93 for the third wicket at a rate of over four races per over to get tourists out of some early strife.
Sri Lankan left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya (2-33) quickly pocketed the wickets of England opener Dom Sibley (0) and Zak Crawley (5), maintaining his dominance over the pair after also dismissing them in both innings during the first test.
Sibley was trapped in the leg before the wicket and Crawley hit the first slip. The two have managed just 28 races in six rounds between them this series, a concern for tourists as they head to India for four tests following the match.
Bairstow and Root used the sweep to great effect as a counterattack measure, the latter also punishing Sri Lanka with the blow in his 228 in the first test.
It took England 139.3 overs to finally fire the home side after choosing to play at bat, with Anderson the main wicket-taker with 6-40 in 29 overs.
Sri Lanka had frustrated tourists with their tail, the last four wickets adding 138.
Anderson took out centurion Angelo Mathews (110) early in the day after a review by Root for a prisoner who didn’t seem particularly interested.
But any idea that this would precipitate a collapse of Sri Lanka was interrupted by strong innings from Niroshan Dickwella (92) and Dilruwan Perera (67).
Southpaw Dickwella was denied a first century of testing when he attempted to throw a wider Anderson delivery midway through but was caught in that position by diver Jack Leach.
Fast bowler Mark Wood (3-84) was also among the wickets as he secured a duck first try for Ramesh Mendis and induced an advantage from Lasith Embuldeniya to Root on the first slip.
Perera was the last man to come out, taken to the depths by Leach off Sam Curran. It was the first time that the 10 wickets of a sleeve fell into the hands of the designers of Galle.
England won the first test at the same location by seven wickets.