1st Test: Jennings fifty swells England’s lead to over 250 against Sri Lanka
Keaton Jennings in action. (AFP Image)

A disciplined piece of bowling from Sri Lanka saw them pick up three wickets for 73 runs in the opening session of the third day of the first Test at Galle, but a resilient half-century from opener Keaton Jennings ensured that England strengthened their position in the match by stretching the lead to 250. The wickets to fall on in that session included that of Rory Burns, Moeen Ali and England captain Joe Root.

England, resuming the day at 38 for no loss, were in no hurry to score runs and were tied down by Dilruwan Perera and Suranga Lakmal. The fact that Sri Lanka’s bowling was tight can be gauged by the fact that the first boundary was scored when play entered the final 30 minutes of the session. England’s openers crossed 50 when Burns was run-out by a direct him and had to head back.

Moeen Ali and Joe Root endured low scores, and once Sri Lanka sent them both packing in a span of seven runs and five overs, it marked their small comeback in the match. Moeen miscued Dilruwan to Rangana Herath at mid-on. Herath then returned to remove Root who offered a thin edge to wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella.

A that stage, England were ahead by just over 200 runs and Sri Lanka had a chance to break through. But Jennings was firm at his end, and he banished the disappointment of a mediocre series against India by bringing up a half-century off 111 balls. He was joined by Ben Stokes and the allrounder gave Jennings positive company. And while Stokes wasn’t fluent by all means, he absorbed 29 balls and looked somewhat assured compared to the other batsmen.

Brief scores: England 342 & 111/3 (Keaton Jennings 60*) lead Sri Lanka 203 (Angelo Mathews 52; Moeen Ali 4-66) by 250 runs.