Galle, January 25
Dom Sibley scored an unbeaten half-century as England chased down a target of 164 to secure a sweep of the series today, beating Sri Lanka by six wickets in the second Test on a day of drama. England scored 164/4, with Sibley 56 not out and Jos Buttler unbeaten on 46 as they overcame jittery moments to complete a 2-0 series triumph.
The tourists overturned a 37-run deficit after the first innings to win a sixth successive Test in Sri Lanka. England earlier dismissed Sri Lanka for 126 in their second innings. England’s run chase began nervously as they lost their first four wickets for 89 runs, including a tired-looking Joe Root, with Sri Lanka’s dangerous spinner Lasith Embuldeniya threatening with the new ball and taking three wickets for a match tally of 10.
But an unbeaten 75-run partnership between Sibley and Buttler carried England home as they showed the application their hosts lacked in their batting.
England, who added only five runs to their overnight tally before being dismissed for 344, took just over a session to turn the match on its head as Dom Bess and spin partner Jack Leach claimed four wickets each in Sri Lanka’s second innings. Bess took 4/49 and Leach 4/59 as the home batting line-up was undone by the turn of the wicket and rash shots.
England won last week’s first Test by seven wickets.
England’s performances in the series gives the team a major lift for their four-Test series in India, said victorious captain Root. England face a much more daunting task in India, where the first Test in Chennai begins on February 5. “We’ve got a huge amount of confidence coming out of these games. We’ve had to manage different situations and all of that will stand us in good stead,” Root said. “The challenge now is to look to replicate this over and over as a team. We can look at this as a platform, as a starting position.”
“These wins are most important for us and the most pleasing thing for me is that for large portions, we were chasing the game. But for us to dig in and not allow them to get away from us was very impressive. But more than anything the way we dealt with the pressure, both in the field and with the bat,” he added.
“We lost the toss in both games but managed to find a way to win in very difficult conditions, with very little lead-up to the series as well. In the past, we’ve been guilty of being slow starters, be it home or away, so for us to start as well as this is really pleasing.” — Reuters