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|09 November, 2018

Cricket-England spinners, Stokes dent Sri Lanka top order

Sri Lanka squandered a decent start to slump to 98 for three at lunch on the penultimate day of the first test against England

GALLE, Sri Lanka- Sri Lanka squandered a decent start to slump to 98 for three at lunch on the penultimate day of the first test against England on Friday.

Kusal Mendis was batting on 21 at the break with the hosts staring at a comprehensive defeat in Rangana Herath's farewell test at the Galle International stadium.

Beginning day four on 15 for no loss, Sri Lanka needed a solid start to prolong their battle without worrying about the enormousness of the improbable 462-run victory target.

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Overnight batsmen Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva saw through the first hour without any damage even if they had a little luck when Karunaratne, on 16, edged Moeen Ali but Ben Stokes grassed the easy catch at slip.

It was eventually Jack Leach's left-arm spin which earned England the breakthrough when Silva could not connect with his sweep shot and was rammed on the front pad to be dismissed leg before wicket for 30.

The batsman unsuccessfully reviewed the decision.

He was soon joined in the dressing room by Karunaratne, who charged down the pitch against Moeen and drove it straight to the off-spinnner, gifting him his 150th test wicket.

Dhananjaya de Silva was then adjudged caught behind for 21 after a wild swing at a Stokes delivery but the batsman successfully reviewed it to overturn the decision.

Not that it mattered.

On the very next delivery he once again played away from his body and Joe Root pouched the edge in the slips, which prompted the lunch break.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Greg Stutchbury) ((amlan.chakraborty@thomsonreuters.com; +91 11 3015 8022; Reuters Messaging: amlan.chakraborty.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net: Twitter: @Amlan_Reuters))