Stokes is peppering Mendis with short balls and causing him some problems, but Mendis' record against short-pitched bowling is solid. He's only been dismissed 7 times to short balls in Tests. #SLvEng pic.twitter.com/KIToy9yHn0— The Cricket Prof. (@CricProf) November 9, 2018
100 up for Sri Lanka in the 39th over ...
The players are back. Mathews will join Mendis as Sri Lanka aim to fight a lot better in the second session ...
LUNCH - DAY 4
England spinner continued their good run in the second innings as well - reducing Sri Lanka to 98 for 3. Set 462, the target was never a consideration at the start of the day but the openers did what was expected of them - give the team a cautious start.
England started with James Anderson and Sam Curran to test both Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva. However, both Sri Lanka openers looked at ease with not much happening off the deck in the first ten overs of the day. In the first hour of play, the visitors managed to create three chances but those didn't result in wickets.
While the edges fell short of slips, the third one - off Moeen Ali - was shelled. Karunaratne will drawn forward by the offspinner and then beaten by the dip on the ball. The ball spun just enough to take the edge and go to Ben Stokes at first slip, who got both hands to it but failed to grab on. At drinks, Sri Lanka were 51 for no loss with both openers looking comfortable for a long haul.
But England didn't have to wait long for the first break. The third ball after the break, Silva lost his concentration and went for a sweep to a ball too full from Jack Leach. He was trapped plumb in front and then compounded the poor decision by wasting a review. It was just the opening England needed.
Karunaratne played very pretty sensibly but at end of his 86-ball 26 had only himself to blame. Having got himself in, he charged Moeen and chipped back a straight catch to the bowler. At 59 for 2, all the early good work was undone.
Both Dhananjaya de Silva and Kusal Mendis played positively as England's threats - the spinners - continued to bowl in tandem. There were a few nervy moments but they did well to keep the spinners at bay. There was some drama in the last over before the break after Dhananjaya was given caught behind but reversed the decision with a review. He, however, lasted just one more ball as he edged the very next ball to first slip to give Stokes his first wicket in the game. After rains hammered Galle overnight, England will hope the showers stay away as they chase a win in Sri Lanka after a break of six years.
Two properly shit shots played by the two batsmen Sri Lanka needed to bat long.— Vithushan Ehantharajah (@Vitu_E) November 9, 2018
England have been very impressive but SL really are a bit pony. Very worrying. #SLvEng
England players with 2500+ runs & 150+ wkts in Tests— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) November 9, 2018
Ian Botham (5200+383) in 102 mts
Andrew Flintoff (3845+226) in 79 mts
Stuart Broad (3063+433) in 123 mts
Moeen Ali (2617+150*) in 53 mts#SLvEng#SLvsEng
OPENERS GONE: Now Karunaratne has thrown away his wicket. Tossed up and he charged down the track. Doesn't connect well and smashes it back to Moeen.
Sri Lanka 60 for 2
Reviewed...he thought it was going under the stumps... #SLvEng— Innocent Bystander (@InnoBystander) November 9, 2018
ONE DOWN: So England don't have to wait for too long after the drinks break. Silva wanted to sweep but the ball was too full from Leach. Doesn't connect and gets trapped plumb in front. Review wasted as well.
Sri Lanka 51 for 1
One hour into Day 4 and the Sri Lankan openers have survived. Sri Lanka 51 for no loss ...
That is only the third time Ben Stokes has dropped a catch in the slips off a spin bowler. It's the first one he's dropped since the 4th Test against South Africa in August 2017. #SLvEng— The Cricket Prof. (@CricProf) November 9, 2018
DROPPED BY STOKES: Regulation chance for first slip and it goes down. Tossed up on off by Moeen, it spins away from Karunaratne and takes the edge. Straight to Stokes who gets both hands on it and shells it down.
Sri Lanka 44 for no loss
Sri Lankan openers have played out the first ten overs in the day. No major threat so far. There were two edges that fell way short. Good start overall this. The real test will come when the spinners start bowling in tandem.
Sri Lanka 36 for no loss.
Rain could be a factor, but we have two days left...
12 hours of heavy rain makes no difference to the cricket in Galle. Covers removed, players warming-up, should start on time.— John Etheridge (@JohnSunCricket) November 9, 2018
Prelude - Day 4
It was Keaton Jennings' day yesterday, wasn't it? The pressure on the young lad had been relentless this past year. He's had to wait for 13 Tests to score his second hundred and boy was he relieved!
It was a press conference to behold at Galle. You can always trust Vithushan to capture the mood perfectly. He does so in this copy.
So where does it leave the Test match? In England's grasp, of course. Sri Lanka's Galle bastion looks set to fall unless they can conjure a miracle and score 447 more runs. Rangana Herath may not be able to add to his 433 wickets but he'd love to add one final Galle magic, this time with the bat, to bail his team out.
It's going to be very, very difficult. The pitch will play tricks for England's three spinners. Reverse swing may also come into play for Anderson and Curran. This could well be the last day of this opening Test. Welcome!