England take the key wicket of Lahiru Thirimanne after he completed his first Test century since 2013 but are made to toil as Sri Lanka slowly reduce the deficit on fourth morning in Galle
- England took two wickets in the morning session of fourth day in Galle
- Nightwatchman Lasith Embuldeniya didn’t hang around, falling to Dom Bess
- But Lahiru Thirimanne hit his second Test century to frustrate the bowlers
- He eventually fell to the new ball as Sam Curran found the inside edge
- But England must break partnership of Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal
England made too important breakthroughs on the fourth morning as they continued their push for victory in the opening Test with Sri Lanka in Galle.
Lahiru Thirimanne completed a fine century before succumbing to the new ball as Sam Curran found some elusive swing to take his inside edge.
Nightwatchman Lasith Embuldeniya was the only other wicket to fall – dismissed early on by Dom Bess – as Sri Lanka slowly reduced their deficit.
Lahiru Thirimanne celebrates reaching his second career Test century on the fourth day against England in Galle
Sam Curran eventually dismissed Thirimanne for 111 after finding swing with the new ball
They reached lunch on 242 for four, trailing England by 44 with Dinesh Chandimal alongside Angelo Mathews in the middle.
After a day of toil in the field on Friday, England needed the boost of an early breakthrough and got it thanks to Bess.
The home side resumed on 156 for two after sustaining a 286-run deficit after the first innings.
Thirimanne, resuming on 76, saw out Stuart Broad’s first over but Embuldeniya was unable to hang around or add to the score.. Having been dropped at silly point from Bess’ fourth ball, he then presented another chance which Dom Sibley took at short cover.
Thirimanne wasn’t in a mood to do anything silly and happily capitalised on any loose balls sent his way by spin duo Bess and Jack Leach.
Thirimanne had frustrated England for most of the morning as Sri Lanka reduced their deficit
He hit successive fours off Bess, the first of which evaded the diving Sibley in a catching position, before seeing a mis-hit sweep loop up but fall safe.
On 99, he was offered the chance to cut when Bess dropped a ball too short and he picked out the gap to bring up just the second Test ton of a decade-long career and his first since 2013.
With Sri Lanka’s deficit now below 100, Mathews joined Thirimanne for a half-century stand to further frustrate England.
Finally, the new ball arrived with the score at 210 for three with captain Joe Root turning to Curran and Mark Wood ahead of Broad.
Angelo Mathews plays a shot as he looks to build a partnership that will give his team a lead
And that proved the correct decision. Both men started with maidens before Curran found a hint of swing to Thirimanne. The ball held its line off the pitch and took the inside edge, just clearing the stumps but ending up in Jos Buttler’s gloves.
The left-hander departed for 111 and England felt a sense of relief. However, they failed to dislodge the experienced pair of Mathews and Chandimal before lunch and will have to redouble their efforts to prevent Sri Lanka establishing a lead that could prove tricky to knock off on day five.
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