Sri Lanka v England talking points: Root's ton overshadows Dananjaya's career-best

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Root led from the front with a counter-attacking ton.

The see-saw battle between Sri Lanka and England in the second Test at Kandy continued on an eventful day three.

At the close of play on Friday, the tourists had reached 324-9 in their second innings for an overall lead of 278 runs.

With the match still hanging in the balance, we take a look at the key talking points from the third day.

ROOT’S TON LEADS ENGLAND CHARGE

Joe Root arrived at the crease on day three with England batting at 77-2 and soon saw his side reduced to 109-4 with the fall of Rory Burns and Ben Stokes. The visitors were in a precarious spot with an overall lead of just 63 at the stage before Root put together a masterful innings filled with aggression and intent.

The England skipper took the attack to Sri Lanka’s spinners and struck 10 boundaries and two sixes on the way to bringing up his 15th Test ton and fourth away from home. The classy right-hander batted at a strike-rate of nearly 85 and used the sweep shot to good effect in an innings that changed the momentum of the game.

By the time Root fell for a 146-ball 124, he had taken the visitors’ second innings lead beyond 250 and put his side in a great position to push for a series win.

Root took the attack to Sri Lanka with his aggressive innings.

Root took the attack to Sri Lanka with his aggressive innings.

SURREY DUO BURNS AND FOAKES SHOW THEIR WORTH

The day had started poorly for England with nightwatchman Jack Leach lasting just five deliveries before returning to the pavilion. Rory Burns and Keaton Jennings then put together a 73-run stand for the second wicket before the latter fell to Akila Dananjaya.

Burns, though, continued his assured innings filled with some delightful boundaries and excellent running between the wickets. The England opener brought up a maiden Test half-century in difficult conditions. The Surrey man showed with his innings that he can become the long-term heir to the now retired Alastair Cook.

His Surrey teammate Ben Foakes then put together another assured innings in just his second Test and was unbeaten on 51 before stumps were drawn on day three. The wicketkeeper batsman followed up his debut Test heroics with another quality outing with the bat in what are very encouraging signs from the rookie.

A maiden Test half-century for Rory Burns.

A maiden Test half-century for Rory Burns.

DANANJAYA PICKS UP CAREER BEST BUT HOSTS STRUGGLE

Dananjaya came into the match in difficult circumstances after he was reported for a suspect bowling action following the completion of the first Test. The youngster seemed unaffected by the controversy as he picked up his maiden six-wicket haul in Test cricket.

The spinner accounted for Jennings, Root, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali and the dangerous Sam Curran among his six scalps and was Sri Lanka’s best spinner of the day. However, even Dananjaya’s career-best wasn’t enough to stop England’s batsmen from scoring at an impressive clip all day.

Even Dananjaya went for over four and a half runs per over as the hosts’ bowlers struggled to stem the flow of boundaries and runs.

Dananjaya's six-wicket haul was overshadowed.

Dananjaya’s six-wicket haul was overshadowed.

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