Galle, Jan 25 (IANS) England defeated Sri Lanka by six wickets in the second Test to seal the two-match series 2-0. Needing 164 to win, the English faltered when reduced to 89 for four. But opener Dominic Sibley and No. 6 Jos Buttler shared an unbeaten 75-run partnership for the fifth wicket to lead their team to victory.
Earlier, English spinners effected a remarkable turnaround as both off-spinner Dom Bess (4/49) and left-arm spinner Jack Leach (4/59) skittled out Sri Lanka for 126 after the hosts had taken a 37-run lead on first innings.
Sri Lanka, who had bowled England out for 344 on the fourth day’s morning with the visitors adding just five more to their overnight score, went to bat in the second innings only to find themselves get reduced to 78 for eight. Left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya then made 40 off 42 deliveries to help Sri Lanka get to their eventual 126-run total.
While Bess and Leach took four wickets each, skipper Root took the remaining two wickets with his off-spinners. Root broke the 48-run ninth-wicket partnership between Embuldeniya and Suranga Lakmal (11 not out).
Chasing 164, England lost opener Zak Crawley early with the sore on 17. Jonny Bairstow then added 45 for the second wicket. England then lost three wickets for 27 runs to let Sri Lanka sneak in. However, Buttler and Sibley saw the visitors through.
England, who are fourth in ICC World Test Championship table, now proceed to India for a four-Test series beginning February 5.
Brief scores Sri Lanka 381 & 126 (L. Embuldeniya 40, D. Bess 4/49, J. Leach 4/59, J. Root 2/0) vs England 344 & 164/4 (D. Sibley 56 not out, J. Buttler 46 not out, L. Embuldeniya 3/73).
Root was the man of the match for his 186. He was also the man of the series for aggregating 426 runs at an average of 106.5.