Buttler, Curran rescue England in Kandy

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Jos Buttler and Sam Curran scored crucial half-centuries to rescue England after a batting collapse threatened to give Sri Lanka the advantage on the first day of the second Test in Kandy.

Buttler’s 63 and a crucial 64 from Curran at the end lifted England to 285 all out after they had been struggling on 89-4 on the turning Pallekelle Stadium pitch.

England spinner Jack Leach then strengthened England’s position, dismissing opener Kaushal Silva in the 12 overs Sri Lanka faced as the home side reached 26 for one at the close.

England were in trouble against spinners Dilruwan Perera who took four wickets, Malinda Pushpakumara (3-89) and Akila Dananjaya (2-80) when Buttler came in to counter-attack with five fours and a crucial 45-run stand with Adil Rashid who made 31.

Buttler’s 63 off 67 deliveries ensured Sri Lanka did not convert a good position into a dominant one, as he swept and reverse swept furiously and effectively.

He was eventually out top-edging a reverse sweep off left-arm spinner Pushpakumara, playing his first Test for more than a year after he was brought in to replace the now retired Rangana Herath.

Curran, after starting his innings patiently – taking 50 balls to reach double figures – tore into the Sri Lanka bowling when batting with the tailenders.

He hit six sixes and a four off the spinners and his last wicket partnership of 60 with Jimmy Anderson ( 7 not out) was the best of the innings.

There were several near misses during the 12 overs Sri Lanka faced.

Leach however made the breakthrough getting a ball to break sharply off the surface and beat Kaushal Silva’s forward defence, to rattle off stump.

Nightwatchman Pushpakumara then survived the 15 balls he faced before stumps.

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