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England spinners deal key blows in first Sri Lanka Test

Off-spinner Dom Bess removed Dinesh Chandimal (20) and Niroshan Dickwella (29) while left-armer Jack Leach sent back Dasun Shanaka to reduce the hosts to 302-7 at tea.

England spinners claimed three key wickets on Sunday to tighten the noose around Sri Lanka. Picture: Twitter @englandcricket.

GALLE - England spinners claimed three key wickets on Sunday to tighten the noose around Sri Lanka on the fourth day of the first Test in Galle.

Off-spinner Dom Bess removed Dinesh Chandimal (20) and Niroshan Dickwella (29) while left-armer Jack Leach sent back Dasun Shanaka to reduce the hosts to 302-7 at tea in their second innings.

Sri Lanka, who were bundled out for 135 runs in their first innings, are just 16 runs ahead of England with four sessions of play remaining.

Angelo Mathews struck a fighting half-century, his 36th in Tests, to hold fort at one end after opener Lahiru Thirimanne made 111 to steady the innings.

This was Thirimanne's second hundred of his Test career and his first in seven years.

Mathews was batting on 51 with Wanindu Hasaranga (3) at the break.

England, who made 421 in their first innings on the back of a fine double century by skipper Joe Root, struck in the first over after lunch, with Bess having Chandimal caught at first slip.

Mathews stitched a 48-run partnership with Dickwella before the wicketkeeper-batsman nicked one behind off Bess.

England took a review against Mathews after the on-field umpire ruled not out to an lbw appeal from Bess. However replays showed the ball was missing the stumps.

The match is being played in an empty stadium due to Covid-19 restrictions.

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