Root's double century puts England in command against Sri Lanka

Joe Root’s timely return to form saw the England captain post a fourth test double-century, propelling his side to 421 all out on the stroke of lunch on day three of the first test against Sri Lanka in Galle, a commanding lead of 286 for the tourists.

Root was dismissed for 228 on Saturday, his second highest test score, having managed more than half his side’s runs, before being the last wicket to fall just before the interval.

He was caught on the mid-on boundary off spinner Dilruwan Perera (4-109), whose excellent performance on the third morning kept England somewhat in check.

Root expressed frustration at recently failing to convert fifties into hundreds. His most recent previous three-figure score in test cricket was 226 in New Zealand in November 2019.

Last year was the first in his test career that he did not score a hundred, but his control and ability to sweep Sri Lanka’s spinners with great effect on a turning wicket has seen him return to form in spectacular fashion.

England resumed the third morning on 320 for four as Root and Jos Buttler (30) scored 52 runs in quick time before Sri Lanka finally received a bit of luck.

A massive six from Root into the stands left the ball out of shape. When it was replaced, the home side suddenly found movement that had been lacking to that point.

Seamer Asitha Fernando (2-44) removed Buttler and Sam Curran in successive balls, before Dom Bess was run-out in a mix-up with Root as the visitors lost three wickets for the addition of 10 runs.

Perera then bagged the final three wickets on what turned out to be a decent morning session for the home side as they picked up six England wickets for the addition of 101 runs.

But Sri Lanka remain in deep trouble in the match having been skittled for 135 in their first innings. 

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