Stubborn Silva inches Sri Lanka past England


England named an unchanged side but shuffled their batting order and Ben Stokes (19) was unable to justify his promotion to number three, the all-rounder surviving a review before succumbing to a second to be trapped lbw by Dilruwan Perera.

But on the fourth day of the second Test between Sri Lanka and England at Kandy on Saturday, the phenomenon happened much closer to the stumps.

The 20-year-old's excellent, attacking knock frustrated Sri Lanka as he motored from 16 to 51 in the space of 27 deliveries, building a 60-run partnership with James Anderson (7 not out) for the final wicket.

At the interval, Adil Rashid was unbeaten on 29 with Sam Curran on 12 at the other end as England recovered from 89-4 to moved towards a respectable total at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium. "But on this occasion we said "no, look, it's time to actually play the conditions", and if that means some good players miss out then, unfortunately, that's the way it goes".

Silva came to the wicket with Sri Lanka five down for 146 and was last man out for 336 holing out to mid-on after defying the England spinners for 217 minutes and 174 balls during which period he struck four fours and a six. Curran was even more important, taking 50 balls to reach double figures before he tore into the Sri Lankan bowling. "Spinners are going to have a huge role and we've got three great spinners all bowling very nicely". Jimmy was probably trying to calm me down, telling me to trust him.

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Root appeared to show dissent at umpire Marais Erasmus' decision to turn down an appeal for the dismissal of Dilruwan Perera off Moeen Ali by shaking his head and kicking the turf. By lunch Sri Lanka were 139 for four.

With Jonny Bairstow fit and available for selection after sitting out of the series opener with an ankle injury, England captain Joe Root had faced a selection dilemma.

"Then guys like Akila Dananjaya and Suranga Lakmal are no mugs with the bat".

His display with the bat has placed Sri Lanka in a strong position to go for a series-levelling win if they can reproduce their first innings bowling performance on a pitch that has increasingly become hard for batsmen to survive.