Root permit for Sri Lanka | Sunday Observer

Root permit for Sri Lanka

17 January, 2021
Joe Root brings up his 4th double century
Joe Root brings up his 4th double century

Sri Lanka produced a matching display of batting while faced with a 286-run first innings deficit after Joe Root was all that England needed on the third day’s play of the first cricket Test here at the Galle International Stadium yesterday.

For the Sri Lankans who ended the day’s play at 156 for 2 in the second innings, it was just the kind of response after an outrageous batting display in the first innings that made Root post a double century (228) and steer his team to 421.

Root simply played all the shots he wanted and that he brought up his 200 with a mighty six and then lost his wicket attempting a second big hit only showed to what extent the Sri Lankan bowlers had to toil to stop the run flow as the England captain was the last out.

Root’s innings was pure intellectual stuff that perhaps gave the Sri Lankans a lesson on how to bat in Test match cricket on a cloudy day that resembled ideal English weather and the home team could not have asked for more when openers Lahiru Thirimanne and Kusal Perera shared in a 101 stand for the first wicket.

Root in reachig his 200 turned towards the colonial Portuguese Fort in Galle to salute a lone England fan who kept echoing his voice hoarse during the day as if he was their one-man Balmy Army.

Perhaps England were prevented from taking a bigger first innings lead when fast bowler Asitha Fernando injected some life into the jaded Sri Lankans when he had Jos Buttler caught behind and then uprooted the off-stump of Sam Curran for naught.

But any hopes Sri Lanka may have had of slowing England down was only fleeting as Root played freely to have his knock of 228 spiced with 18 fours.

Kusal Mendis who was at the receiving end of many jibes for his failure to make a single run in four appearances, found some solace in the century stand posted by Thirimanne and Kusal Perera whose dismissal brought him to the crease.

Having escaped a chopping from the team in the absence of any groomed replacements, Mendis with the noose dangling over batted as if he was on show for the first time until he was caught behind for 15 made off 65 balls unable to negotiate a ball from spinner Jack Leach.

Thirimanne had some luck come his way and was saved when he was dropped at gully with his score on 51 and for a batsman who has never being able to play to his potential as a Test player will have only Dominic Sibley to thank for spilling the catch.

He was unbeaten on 76 while occupying the crease for two sessions as England tried desperately to dislodge him without success.