Galle [Sri Lanka], January 16 (ANI): Kusal Perera and Lahiru Thirimanne hit half-centuries to stage a fightback for Sri Lanka before bad light brought an end to the third day's action in the first Test against England at the Galle International Stadium on Saturday.
At stumps, Sri Lanka's score read 156/2 with Thirimanne and Lasith Embuldeniya unbeaten on 76 and 0 respectively. The Dinesh Chandimal-led side is trailing by 130 runs in their second innings with eight wickets in the bag.
Staring their second innings, the Sri Lanka openers displayed a contrasting show from the first essay and held the ground strong till the 37th over.
Perera scored his fifth Test half-century and also his third fifty-plus score in his last five Test innings to give Sri Lanka a good start. A solid batting performance by the openers saw Sri Lanka going to tea at 90/0.
However, in the third session, England finally got the breakthrough as Curran broke the 101-run opening stand after dismissing Perera. Meanwhile, Thirimanne continued his fine form and scored his seventh Test fifty to stabilise the hosts' innings. He and Kusal Mendis stitched a 54-run partnership for the second wicket before Jack Leach bamboozled the latter to reduce Sri Lanka to 155/2.
Earlier, England began day three with skipper Joe Root in fine form having hit his 18th ton in the longest format of the game on Friday.
However, Asitha Fernando came firing on all cylinders and dismissed Jos Buttler (30) and Sam Curran (0) in successive deliveries. Dom Bess (0) departed after an unfortunate run out as England slipped from 372/4 to 382/7.
Holding the other end strong, Root hit his fourth double century in the longest format of the game and became the seventh England batsman to score 8,000 Test runs.
Root also became the second-fastest England batsman to achieve the feat surpassing former opener Alastair Cook. But wickets kept falling at regular intervals and England was bundled out for 421.
Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 135 and 156/2 (Lahiru Thirimanne 76*; Sam Curran 1-25); England 421 (Joe Root 228; Dilruwan Perera 4-109) (ANI)