Sri Lanka rock England with three wickets before lunch
LONDON: England made heavy weather of pleasant batting conditions to reach 74 for three at lunch on the opening session of the third and final test against Sri Lanka at Lord's on Thursday.
Having won the toss and elected to bat openers Alastair Cook and Alex Hales eased through the first hour to bring up 50 in 12 untroubled overs but Sri Lanka hit back.
As the run-rate slowed Hales lost patience after failing to score for 22 deliveries, swinging wildly across the line and edging spinner Rangana Herath to a grateful Angelo Mathews in the 19th over with the score on 56.
Nick Compton walked in under pressure to score runs after a torrid series so far but lasted only 11 balls before edging a full delivery from Suranga Lakmal to wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal having scored one.
Compton has managed only 32 runs in four innings despite England's dominating the first two tests.
The morning got even better for Sri Lanka when Lakmal trapped Joe Root lbw for three -- the decision going to the third umpire after Root was originally given not out.
Cook, who was presented with a silver bat before the match after becoming the first English batsman to reach 10,000 test runs, made batting look easily, striking six fours to reach lunch two short of his half century.
James Vince was three not out.
Sri Lanka's bowlers showed admirable discipline with slow left-armer Herath and medium pacer Mathews bowling eight overs between them for just one run conceded.
Lakmal was the pick of the bowlers though with figures of two for 22 from his seven overs.
England had named an unchanged side from their nine-wicket win at Durham while Sri Lanka made one change -- Kusal Perera returning after six months out fighting doping allegations.
The 25-year-old batsman was recently cleared by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after it was announced in December he failed a drugs test last July.
England are looking to wrap up a 3-0 series whitewash.