Joe Root notched his first century of testing in over a year and Essex batsman Dan Lawrence made an impressive debut as England took control in a first test in the rain against Sri Lanka Friday.
Root was undefeated on 168 balls on 254 balls and Lawrence had 73 balls on 150 balls with England at 320-4 before the rain barred extra play on Day 2 after tea.
Visitors now lead through 185 races with six wickets in hand on a wicket that has started to show signs of a lot of rotation.
England beat Sri Lanka for 135 in the opening sets of the first two sessions on Thursday, with opposing player Dom Bess scoring 5-30 and Stuart Broad 3-20.
Root and Lawrence defied Sri Lanka’s plans with a stand of 173 points as wicket keeper Niroshan Dickwella twice missed opportunities to hold Lawrence’s batting edges.
Off-spinner Dilruwan Perera finally got the breakthrough at the end of the second session with the second new ball when Lawrence gloved a hold for the front of the short leg.
The Essex batsman showed a lot of maturity in his first test with his back foot and front foot and even played exquisite cuttings against spinners. He hit six fours and his half-century debut also included a six over midwicket off Lasith Embuldeniya, Sri Lanka’s most successful bowler at 3-131.
Previously, Root had survived Sri Lanka’s leg before wicket TV returned on Perera’s second ball of the day after the start was delayed by 70 minutes due to the rain.
But Embuldeniya grabbed drummer Jonny Bairstow overnight in a short ravine. Bairstow couldn’t add to her 47 days but added 114 essential points with her skipper.
Root, 66 overnight, finished his 18th century try and his second in Sri Lanka with a first single after lunch of 163 balls to seven fours, as the England captain won in trust.
It was Root’s first century of testing since scoring 226 against New Zealand in Hamilton in November 2019.
Root continued to dominate the spinners and hit 150 of 225 balls when he guided Embuldeniya behind the point for a single.