Joe Root hits dominant century as Dan Lawrence debut held century put England in command before rain stops play

Joe Root had an excellent day cut short as rain stops play on Day Two as the skipper stands 168 not out, whilst debutant Dan Lawrence hits 73 as England extend lead to 185

At the start of day two of the first test in Galle, England had a simple plan, bat and bat big, trailing overnight by 8 runs, set batsmen Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow would look to take the match away from Sri Lanka.

Rain delays and poor light saw the start time pushed back for around an hour, meaning everyone who may have had a lie-in were able to catch the start of play.

Sri Lanka had to have taken early wickets to get back into the match, and with the first two balls of the day, they almost got their wish, Root edging the first ball of the day just short of slip.

Second ball of the day was more dramatic, as Dilruwan Perera wrapping the England captain on the pads, Chandimal’s review unsuccessful as impact on the pad was deemed umpires call, although the ball was hitting the stumps.

It did not take long for the first wicket, falling only the second over of the day, Jonny Bairstow unable to add to his overnight score, He stretched forward and the ball spun, took the outside edge and flew to silly point, who got forward to get both hands under the ball as it seemed to be heading to the floor.

Embuldeniya picking up his and England’s third wicket, achieving spin off the pitch on the day that is deemed to be the best day for batting.

That brought debutant Dan Lawrence to the crease, his nerves of a debut duck was quashed, getting off the mark with his first ball.

Root and his new partner Lawrence aided the tourists into the lead, the former building on his overnight score in the calm and measured manner that fans and himself have not seen too much of recently.

Shot of the morning went to Dan Lawrence, a massive six over mid wicket helped bring up the 50 partnership in what seemed like no time at all. The Essex man building his maiden innings as if he was the man down the other end, 40 not out at lunch.

Root added 33 in the morning session, and after hitting a three off the first ball of the sessions final over, he walked in at lunch 99 not out.

He did not have to wait long for his 18th test match century achieving this milestone in the first over after the break.

Another Sri Lanka review went amiss as Root on 102, bottom edged the ball onto what seemed was his pads for short leg to catch diving forward. The review showed the ball hit the ground from the bat then onto glove. Enraging an already pent up Micky Arthur, confused about the laws of the game.

A maiden 50 on debut was thoroughly deserved by Lawrence, his temperament and skill against both the leg spinner and off spinner looked classy, his assured start to his innings and test career reeking rewards. A single down the ground taking him to his half century.

The century partnership between captain and rookie came only a few balls later off only 159 deliveries. The lead at stretching over 100 looked untroubled against the spin, with maidens being as rarer than boundaries were the day before.

Dan Lawrence offered up a chance on 60, getting a leading edge to a ball from the wicketless Hasaranga, but Kusal Mendis could only flap the ball into the air behind him. A tough chance but one that had to be taken.

150 run partnership was bought up two deliveries after the new ball was taken, with the over going for 11 runs, Root twice finding the boundry with ease.

Lawrence had another scare in the first new ball, charging down the pitch to a looped up wider ball, threw everything into the shot- including his bat in the air- with the keeper Dickwella missing the ball, nudging it over first slip for the batsman to run a single.

Its the start of a crucial year as captain of England for Joe Root, both as the teams captain and personal batting form. He made the perfect start, brining up his 150 after five hours at the crease, 11 boundaries helped bring up his total. Moving to 152*, he claimed the highest individual score by an Englishman in Sri Lanka.

The breakthrough happened 30 minutes before the tea break, Dilruan Perera around the wicket to Lawrence, bouncing onto the glove for Kusal Mendis to catch at short leg. A more than fine debut innings from Lawrence ended on 73 with the score at 304/4.

Dinesh Chandimal and Dickwella must have gone to the Tim Paine school of DRS reviews, as reviewing a ‘catch’ off Jos Buttler on 5. He was nowhere near it and wasted the review. Buttler had a few scares in his short period at the crease before tea.

Kusal Mednis, fielding at short leg had to be taken off the field, hit multiple times by Root, Lawrence and Buttler on the sweep, being struck by Root in consecutive deliveries on the head and shoulder.

Going into the tea interval with England at 320/4 leading by 185, and that is how it remained the covers were placed on all the pitch as rain stopped play. Almost the perfect day England, one that would have only have been bested if play carried on throughout the day.

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