ENGLAND TOUR OF SRI LANKA 2018
Cricbuzz Staff •
Mendis compiled a vital unbeaten fifty to keep Sri Lanka in the game © AFP
Ben Stokes being officially warned for bowling three bouncers an over summed up England’s frustration in a chastening period of play. Partly impeded by a soft Kookaburra ball, England struggled to cope with the amount of turn on offer in an interesting problem of plenty on the fourth morning in Colombo, so much so that Ben Stokes had to go into overdrive with his short balls from round the wicket.
England looked increasingly flat in the face of a growing 81-run partnership between Kusal Mendis and Roshen Silva. Sri Lanka lost just the one wicket of Lakshan Sandakan in the morning session and at Lunch on Day 4, the hosts need a further 163 runs with five wickets in hand to pull off the highest successful run-chase at the Sinhalese Sports Club.
Stokes and a spinner bowling in tandem has worked wonders for England in this Test, including last evening when the hosts lost four wickets in quick time, so it was surprising to see Moeen Ali and Jack Leach open the bowling for England this morning. Leach still managed to get Sandakan caught off the outside edge but Moeen, who looked unstoppable after picking two wickets last evening, looked flat today, allowing Mendis to get into a groove early with some easy runs. Adil Rashid bowled a few big-spinning deliveries with consistency but failed to strike for England.
Kusal Mendis scored his runs at brisk pace and brought up his seventh Test fifty off only 54 balls in the able company of Silva, who played the perfect foil to Mendis’s aggression by batting at a sub-fifty strike rate.
Moeen came back to bowl the last over before lunch, still extracted turn but ended up conceding two boundaries in the over to wrap a session where 111 runs were scored for the loss of one wicket.
Brief scores: England 336 & 230 (Buttler 64, Stokes 42; Perera 5-88) lead Sri Lanka 240 & 164/5 (Mendis 77*; Roshen Silva 37*; Leach 2-39) by 162 runs.