England close in on third Test victory
England are close to sealing a series whitewash in Sri Lanka after the hosts reached stumps on 53-4 on day three of the third Test.
Resuming their second innings on 3-0, England made a poor start as they slipped to 39-4 with Keaton Jennings (1), Rory Burns (7), Jonny Bairstow (15) and Joe Root (7) falling cheaply.
Jos Buttler and all-rounder Ben Stokes, who was caught twice off Lakshan Sandakan no-balls, put on a solid partnership of 89 to steady the ship before the latter was caught off the bowling of Dilruwan Perera for 42.
Buttler managed to pass his half-century before being dismissed by Sandakan for 64, with the same bowler then removing Moeen Ali for 22 to leave the tourists on 171-7.
Wicket-keeper Ben Foakes (36no) and Adil Rashid (24) produced a late flurry to help England to 230 all-out, setting the hosts a target of 327 on a difficult turning strip.
Moeen dismissed Danushka Gunathilaka for just six after the opener edged to Stokes at slip before Jack Leach trapped Dhananjaya de Silva LBW for a seven-ball duck in his first over.
Sri Lanka lost their third wicket shortly afterwards when Moeen bowled Dimuth Karunaratne for 23 before Angelo Mathews' (5) attempted pull shot from a Stokes delivery was caught superbly by a diving Stuart Broad
Kusal Mendis (15no) and Sandakan (0) managed to see out the remaining overs to reach stumps on 53-4, still requiring 274 more runs to win with just six wickets remaining.
James Mason grew up in Northumberland so is entrenched in both the football and golf scenes. A low handicap golfer, he also follows Newcastle United and predicts big things under Rafa Benitez.