Moeen and Mahela trade advantage in Leeds

England

A couple of key breakthroughs from spinner Moeen Ali afforded England the edge, but batsman Mahela Jayawardene's characteristic resistance kept Sri Lanka in the hunt – on day three of the second and final Test at Headingley in Leeds on Sunday.

A couple of key breakthroughs from spinner Moeen Ali afforded England the edge, but batsman Mahela Jayawardene's characteristic resistance kept Sri Lanka in the hunt – on day three of the second and final Test at Headingley in Leeds on Sunday.

Having dismissed the opposition for a modest 257 all out on the back of seamer Liam Plunkett's five-wicket haul, the hosts sported high hopes of fetching a resounding lead.

A disappointing total of 365 all out, however, meant the advantage was only 108 – and the veteran Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara gradually turned the deficit into a lead of 106 in a budding total of 214 for four.

The English demanded a substantial collective contribution from the slew of bowling all-rounders in the morning session. Instead trio Chris Jordan, Stuart Broad and Liam Plunkett achieved just 23 runs.

All-rounder Angelo Mathews, whose bowling had been a veritable non-event until Sunday, secured telling figures of four for 44. Fast bowler Shaminda Eranga, too, benefited from conditions en route to four for 93.

Sri Lanka's reply was understandably circumspect. Eager to deploy attrition in the face of a determined home attack, openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva duly dug in. Karunaratne's patient 45 would have read considerably less – had Jordan not dropped a reasonably straightforward catch off fast bowler James Anderson.

The ground work left the national old guard of Sangakkara and Jayawardene to plenty of staunch middle-order defiance – and eventual rewards. Sangakkara reached a record seventh consecutive Test score of 50 or more in the process.

Ali broke the visiting dominance, dismissing Sangakkara and the out-of-form Lahiru Thirimanne in quick succession. The latter endured a pair of ducks, finishing the two-match series with just four runs in as many innings.

The right-handed Jayawardene's 55 not out and captain Angelo Mathews' complementary, unbeaten cameo, though, were soon at hand to the impact of Ali's brace was no more than momentary.

Seamer Stuart Broad laboured through a trying day – and seems to be carrying injury. England, meanwhile, will be wary of the stalwart Rangana Herath. With conditions proving increasingly helpful for spin.

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