Sri Lanka openers set up thrilling final day against New Zealand in Galle Test

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Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne (r) with Lahiru Thirimanne.

Sri Lanka were closing in on victory in the first Test against New Zealand at the end of the fourth day in Galle.

Opening batsmen Dimuth Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne shared an unbroken partnership of 133 in 50 overs, just under halfway to Sri Lanka’s victory target of 268.

Skipper Karunaratne was unbeaten on 71 and Thirimanne 57 as the pair went past Sri Lanka’s previous best fourth-innings partnership, 124 against Pakistan in 2014.

Spinners Ajaz Patel, William Somerville and Mitchell Santner bowled extended spells, but the trio could not take advantage of a turning track before bad light stopped play prematurely.

New Zealand had resumed on 195-7, 177 runs in front, after a 35-minute morning delay for rain.

BJ Watling (77), Somerville (40) and Trent Boult (26) extended that advantage before New Zealand were finally dismissed for 285 in their second innings.

Lasith Embuldeniya finished with four wickets while Dhananjaya de Silva picked up three.

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England v Australia LIVE: Hosts look to gain upper hand on day four

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England’s bowlers will be hoping to make up for lost time on day four of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s as they look for early inroads against Australia.

Only 24.1 overs were possible on Friday, with two full sessions washed out to add to the three lost to a day-one abandonment, but the home side can still make headway with quick wickets.

Australia will resume on 80 for four, with Steve Smith an ominous presence at the crease following his match-winning centuries in each innings at Edgbaston.

Stuart Broad believes a home win is still on the cards if he and the rest of the attack can wrap up the next six wickets before lunch, meaning the stakes are certain to be high come 11am.

Broad has already taken two in the innings, David Warner and Travis Head, and will be relying on debutant Jofra Archer – who opened his Test account with a tight lbw against Cameron Bancroft – and Chris Woakes for support.

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Ashes 2019: Archer impresses with his searing pace and wicket-taking threat on debut

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Archer picked his maiden Test scalp on Friday.

Jofra Archer continued his promising Test debut for England on a rain-shortened third day against Australia at Lord’s.

Here, PA assesses how he fared.

Wicket threat

After failing to notice an edge off David Warner’s bat on day two, Archer registered his first Test scalp in his 11th over. His initial burst had strayed slightly too wide to cause consistent problems but when he did tighten up his line it paid off, jagging one back in to Cameron Bancroft and rapping him just under the thigh pad.

Archer’s appeal was good enough to persuade Aleem Dar but a tight DRS referral delayed the final verdict. Ball-tracking showed the bails being skimmed, but that was enough to get him off the mark.

Pace

Archer’s ability to generate serious heat is an open secret but he continues to deliver. His first ball to Steve Smith was the fastest of the day at 93.7mph and there was at least one more seriously rapid bouncer. The slowest ball he sent down was an outlier at a shade under 85mph, which still represents the top end of many seamers’ arsenal.

Economy

Scoring has proved tricky off the Sussex quick, with just 18 runs from his 13 overs so far. Six of those have been maidens and he has already sent down 38 dot balls. He might ultimately reflect that he can risk a few more attacking shots by trying more aggressive lines but his readiness to keep batsmen quiet is a handy habit to have.

Opposition view

Former Australia captain Steve Waugh assessed Archer’s contribution over the first two days and liked what he saw. “He’s very impressive. He’s got a pretty unusual action but he’s very relaxed but generates a lot of pace seemingly out of nowhere,” he said.

“He’s a guy that will take a bit of getting used to for batsmen, because he’s different and quick through the air. We certainly respect him.”

Waugh was left impressed by Archer.

Waugh was left impressed by Archer.

Provided by Press Association Sports

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