Root notches another ton as England battle trial by spin v Sri Lanka

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Third Test – England v Pakistan

(Reuters) – Captain Joe Root scored his second century in succession to keep England afloat on a difficult, turning wicket as they reached 181 for four in their first innings at lunch on day three of the second and final test against Sri Lanka in Galle.

The tourists still trail the home side by exactly 200 runs but the imperious Root is well set on 105 and will resume after the interval with Jos Buttler (30 not out) in what has been a trial by spin on a turning pitch.

Root followed up his 228 in the first match with a 19th test century, the first time he has reached three figures in consecutive tests in his career.

His innings has been built around the impressive use of the sweep shot, which he has waged to take the attack to the Sri Lanka bowlers.

England resumed the day on 98 for two having lost their openers cheaply for the third time in as many innings this series.

But Jonny Bairstow never looked settled and fell on 28, an inside edge onto his pad off the dangerous home spinner Lasith Embuldeniya (4-72) looping to Oshida Fernando at short leg.

Dan Lawrence was impressive on debut in England’s seven wicket win in the first test but made just three as he edged Embuldeniya to Lahiru Thirimanne at slip.

At 132 for four, England were teetering, but Root and Buttler have steadied the ship with an unbeaten fifth wicket stand of 49 that they will hope to grow significantly.

Root failed to score a test century in 2020, the first time in his career he went a calendar year without a ton, and his return to form will be welcome as England head into four tests in India right after this series.

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