KANDY, Sri Lanka — England won the second test against Sri Lanka by 57 runs on the final day at the Pallekele International Stadium to clinch its first series victory in Sri Lanka in 17 years.
The tourists, who had won the first Test in Galle by 211 runs, needed just 32 minutes on Sunday to complete the win in the second test as its spinners again ripped through the hosts batting lineup.
Sri Lanka, resuming on Sunday from its overnight score of 226-7, required 75 runs to win the game but could only add 17 as Moeen Ali struck twice in an over before Jack Leach had Malinda Pushpakumara caught and bowled to seal the victory.
Sri Lanka’s chances to pull off a difficult win depended heavily on overnight batsman Niroshan Dickwella, but local hopes faded quickly as the wicketkeeper-batsman was dismissed for 35 by Ali (4-72) when Ben Stokes completed a good catch at first slip.
Two balls later captain Suranga Lakmal was bowled by Ali for no score to bring England closer to the brink of its first series victory in Sri Lanka since Nasser Hussain’s side recorded a come from behind 2-1 win in 2001.
Leach (5-83) completed the win when he took a return catch off Pushpakumara to claim his maiden five wicket haul. The left-arm spinner playing his third Test match finished with match figures of 8- 153.
England captain Joe Root was named man of the match for his magnificent 124 that helped England to a total of 346 in its second innings, after the tourists had conceded a deficit of 46 runs in the first innings.
The third and final Test will be played in Colombo at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground starting on Friday.
Sri Lanka’s captain Dinesh Chandimal is expected to make a comeback for the final Test having missed the second game due to a groin strain. The hosts are likely to miss off-spinner Akila Dananjaya after his action was reported by match officials as suspect in Galle. He is expected to undergo testing overseas.
The fitness of England seamer Sam Curran will also be assessed after he did not take the field in Sri Lanka’s second innings due to a side strain.