Joe Root Ton Puts England On Top Against Sri Lanka

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It was his third five wicket haul in just his fifth Test for Dananjaya, who must rush off to Australia after the game for an ICC examination of his bowling.

He, however, could not stop Root and Foakes swinging the game.

Root reached his 15th Test ton soon after tea, making the sweep and reverse sweep valuable weapons, as he hit 10 fours and two sixes in his 146-ball knock.

Root said he enjoyed making the runs despite the pressure.

“That’s what it should be. You shouldn’t feel pressure like the pressure is too much for you, you should enjoy the occasion and make the most of the opportunity in front of you,” he said after the day’s play.

“The whole group managed to harness that today and make the most of it.”

Root raised his bat to a standing ovation from travelling English fans who also lauded Foakes.

Root made an 82-run seventh wicket stand with Foakes, who reached his fifty with a six off Dilruwan Perera. The hit turned out to be the last ball of the day with dark clouds gathering and thunder heard in the distance.

‘Attack best form of defence’

As he did in his sparkling century on his Test debut in the opening game of the series, Foakes mixed caution and aggression to push up the England score.

Every one of England’s top seven batsmen were out attempting a sweep of some description.

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Jos Buttler dragged one of Dananjaya’s deliveries onto his stumps while trying to reverse sweep on 34. Moeen Ali was trapped lbw for 10 after failing to connect with an attempted sweep.

“From my point of view, it was almost a safer shot than playing the forward defensive,” said Root.

“With the amount the ball was turning there’s a lot of risk involved in that. At times attack is the best form of defence on a wicket like that.”

Earlier, left-hander Rory Burns registered his maiden Test half-century in just his second match. He was trapped lbw off Malinda Pushpakumara for 59.

Perera wasted little time in sending nightwatchman Jack Leach back to the pavilion for one in the second over of the day.

Burns then put together 73 runs for the second wicket with Keaton Jennings, who made 26, to steady the innings and help England overcome their 46-run deficit.

“I think the temptation with a deficit like that going into the second innings is to play within your shell and be a bit insular but the guys went out and set the tone at top of the order,” said Root.

“It was really pleasing to see inexperienced guys as Test cricketers really set the benchmark for the rest of the group, a really good platform for us. 

“Hopefully we still stretch the lead further and that should be a good chase on this surface.”