An impressive century from captain Joe Root helped England take control on day three of the second Test against Sri Lanka. England resumed the day on 0-0 and, after nightwatchman Jack Leach (1) was dismissed early, Keaton Jennings and Rory Burns set about building a solid partnership of 73 before the former was dismissed for 26.
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Surrey opener Burns went on to score his maiden Test 50 before he was eventually dismissed for 59 and, when Ben Stokes was bowled by Mahamarakkala Perera for a second ball duck, England looked like they might be in a spot of bother.
However, Root then took centre stage as he registered his 15th Test ton and first away from home since he succeeded Alastair Cook as captain last year.
The 27-year-old was eventually dismissed for 124 after being ably assisted by Jos Buttler (34) and Ben Foakes (51no), the latter of whom helped England to a total of 324-9 before bad light brought play to a premature close.
Foakes will return to the crease on day four alongside James Anderson (4no), with England looking to build on the 278-run lead they have established.
If England do go on to win the match then they will take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series and it will also seal their first series success in Sri Lanka since 2001.
Root’s century has certainly given England a great opportunity of achieving that feat and he was understandably delighted with his contribution. “[My Test hundreds] are all different but that was a thoroughly enjoyable one and quite challenging on that surface,” Root told Sky Sports.
“The most pleasing thing for me was that having asked the guys to play in an [aggressive] manner in these conditions, you want to set the example and lead from the front. For it to come off, it was really pleasing.”