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Curran rescues England with 6-hitting spree 

PALLEKELE, November 14

Sam Curran exhibited his six-hitting prowess and Jos Buttler made an enterprising 63 to help England overcome a top order collapse and post 285 in the first innings on the opening day of the second Test against Sri Lanka on Wednesday. England were reeling at 89/4 when Buttler somewhat steadied the innings before Curran clobbered six sixes in his blistering 64 to help them to a competitive score.

Sri Lanka lost Kaushal Silva in their wobbly reply to be 26/1 at stumps, trailing by 259 runs. Dimuth Karunaratne was batting on 19 with Malinda Pushpakumara on one at the other end.

Earlier, England captain Joe Root won the toss and unsurprisingly elected to bat as the tourists, 1-0 up in the three-match series, sought to build on their victory in Galle last week. Sri Lanka’s stand-in skipper Suranga Lakmal dismissed Keaton Jennings in the fifth over before the home side’s spinners set about disrupting the rest of the top-order.

England’s move to promote Ben Stokes to No. 3 didn’t work as the burly all-rounder was trapped LBW by Dilruwan Perera for 19. Root’s struggle against left-arm spin, meanwhile, compounded England’s crisis after the captain, dismissed twice by Rangana Herath in his farewell Test in Galle, fell for 14 to Pushpakumara (3/89). Rory Burns made 43 before being caught in the slips as England lost four wickets before the lunch break.

Buttler then counter-attacked, hitting Akila Dananjaya, who has been reported for a suspect bowling action but is free to play, for three successive boundaries en route to a run-a-ball 50. Curran then lit up the final session with his binge-hitting, bringing up his third Test fifty with his fifth six. The left-hander dominated his 60-run partnership for the final wicket — the only 50-plus stand in the England innings — with James Anderson before being the last man out.  

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