Rain stopped play as England turned the screw after tea on the fourth day of the second Test in Sri Lanka.

Angelo Mathews (88) appeared to have steered Sri Lanka into a strong position with a performance that helped drag the hosts away from early struggles that had left them 26-3 in pursuit of a 301-run victory target.

But his dismissal shortly after tea at Pallekele, and the subsequent wicket of Dilruwan Perera, allowed England to build a head of steam and left the home side on 226-7.

Dilruwan's wicket was the final action of the day as an evening downpour brought about an early finish and gave Sri Lanka time to ponder a route to the remaining 75 runs required, with only three wickets remaining.

A stellar batting display from Joe Root on Friday looked to have put England in firm control, and the early scalps of Kaushal Silva, Dhananjaya de Silva and Kusal Mendis on Saturday certainly strengthened their bid for a first away series win since 2015-16.

The trio fell during a devastating period from Jack Leach (4-73), who accounted for all three in the space of three of his overs.

Opener Dimuth Karunaratne (57) found a more stable batting partner in Mathews and the pair combined for 77 runs for the fourth wicket to haul Sri Lanka back into the contest.

Karunaratne was ultimately caught behind off Adil Rashid (1-52) but Mathews was assisted ably by his fellow middle-order batsmen Roshen Silva (37) and Niroshan Dickwella (27 not out).

Sri Lanka reached tea on 219-5, needing only 82 for victory.

However, their challenge was significantly weakened when Moeen Ali trapped Mathews lbw, before Dilruwan - who had survived on review in the previous over - also walked after being pinned in front by the impressive Leach.

The covers were hurried on as Dilruwan returned to the pavilion and the rest of the day's play was abandoned soon after.

Joe Root was pleased to lead by example after his superb century boosted England's hopes of a series-clinching victory in Pallekele.

After overcoming a scratchy start, Root blossomed to make 124 from 146 deliveries on day three of the second Test against Sri Lanka, helping the tourists reach 324-9 before heavy rain cut short the final session.

Still, despite the damp finish to proceedings, England's overall outlook is bright. They hold a 278-run lead and, on a wearing pitch, will hope their trio of spinners can secure an unassailable 2-0 lead with one Test remaining.

Having called for his batsmen to play positively in tough conditions prior to the tour, Root was happy to back up his words with an aggressive knock that included 10 fours and two sixes.

"They're all different, but that was a thoroughly enjoyable one today," the Yorkshireman said of his 15th Test ton in an interview with Sky Sports.

"Obviously it was quite challenging on that surface but the most pleasing thing for me was that I've asked the guys to play in a certain manner when we've come to this part of the world and in these conditions, so you want to set the example and lead from the front, play in that manner yourself.

"For it to come off as it did today is really pleasing.

"You look at the group of players we've got and it suits their natural games. You've got to play your advantage and we've certainly done that on this tour so far with the bat.

"You're not going to get it right all the time but we've given ourselves a really good chance, especially now in this game.

"If we bowl pretty well on that surface, hopefully we will be able to create at least 10 chances."

The right-handed batsman admitted it was tough going in the early stages of his innings, describing his batting like a "reverse swan" as he looked frantic on the outside but remained somewhat calm underneath.

"To start, I felt a bit all over the place at the start, a bit hectic," he added. "It was like a reverse swan, as I felt calm underneath but my legs were flapping on the outside.

"It was just about trying to get the bowlers to bowl in the areas you wanted them to. Take a few risks early and get used to the surface and how it was playing.

"Once I got to 20-odd, got a few boundaries away, I felt I was picking length pretty well in terms of sweeping. It sort of made things a lot easier, and from that point you figure out a good method of how to play on that surface."

Root also praised top-order duo Rory Burns and Keaton Jennings, who made 59 and 26 respectively to help erase a small first-innings deficit following the early departure of nightwatchman Jack Leach.

"We kept the board going at a really good rate, especially in that first session," the skipper said.

"Credit to the guys for coming out and playing that way. We lost Leach early and, looking at the scoreboard with a bit of a deficit, the temptation is to go into your shell.

"But the guys played with freedom and a lot of courage, as well as showing respect to the good balls out there."

New Zealand collapsed to the lowest first-innings total registered by any Test team in Abu Dhabi as Pakistan made a strong start to the series on Friday.

The Black Caps capitulated from 111-3 to 153 all out on a slow track and they would have been facing total humiliation but for a half-century from Kane Williamson (63).

Yasir Shah took 3-54, while the excellent Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali and Haris Sohail took two wickets apiece.

Pakistan were 59-2 at stumps, already trailing by just 94 runs despite openers Imam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Hafeez throwing their wickets away.

Williamson, passed fit after recovering from a groin injury, arrived at the crease earlier than he would have hoped after winning the toss, Jeet Raval (7) nibbling Abbas behind and Tom Latham (13) falling to a poor shot in Yasir's first over.

The tourists were 39-3 when Ross Taylor edged Yasir behind, but Williamson and Henry Nicholls dug in to prevent further damage from being done before lunch.

Nicholls struck Yasir for back-to-back boundaries and Williamson played with more freedom early in the afternoon session, the captain bringing up his half-century off 88 balls with a textbook cut.

But Abbas, whose 12 overs cost only 13 runs, struck again when Nicholls (28) nicked through to Sarfraz Ahmed with a loose drive and New Zealand crumbled after Hasan (2-38) took two wickets in as many balls.

Williamson gloved behind down the leg side and Colin de Grandhomme was trapped leg before first ball, Haris then getting in on the act by removing Ish Sodhi (4) and BJ Watling (10).

New Zealand had lost seven wickets in 22 overs by the time Yasir rapped debutant Ajaz Patel on the pads in front, teenager Shaheen Afridi no doubt watching on enviously after missing out on a debut.

Imam - cleared to play a week after being struck on the helmet by a Lockie Ferguson bouncer - fell with a loose drive and Williamson took a second catch when Hafeez slapped a short ball from Trent Boult straight to him at midwicket.

It was Pakistan's day, though, after Haris (22 not out) Azhar Ali and (10no) denied New Zealand from making further inroads.

Joe Root made a brilliant attacking century to give England a substantial lead despite Akila Dananjaya's six-wicket haul on day three of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Pallekele.

Root went on the attack to give the tourists a great chance of winning the series with a match to spare, the captain scoring a masterful 124 from only 146 balls.

Rory Burns (59) hit a maiden Test half-century and Ben Foakes continued his dream start to his England career with an unbeaten 51 on a pitch offering plenty of turn on Friday.

Dananjaya, reported for a suspect bowling action in the first Test, took Test-best figures of 6-106 but England were 324-9 with a lead of 278 when play was cut short due to bad light before the rain came.

Joe Leach succeeded with his task of seeing out one over as nightwatchman on day two, but failed to hang around in the morning session, Dilruwan Perera (2-87) trapping him leg before sweeping.

Keaton Jennings (26) and Burns moved England into a lead of 31 with a positive second-wicket stand of 73 before the former was caught at slip reverse-sweeping Dananjaya.

Burns did not allow the Sri Lanka bowlers to settle, striking the ball with power and running superbly between the wickets in a promising knock which included seven boundaries before Malinda Pushpakumara snared him lbw.

England were 109-4 when Perera pinned Ben Stokes leg before without scoring, but Root looked in great touch from the start of his innings and put on 74 for the fifth wicket with Jos Buttler. 

Buttler (34) played on attempting to reverse sweep Dananjaya, but Root continued to use his feet expertly, finding the boundary with apparent ease as he took on the spinners.

Root shifted through the gears after bringing up his half-century, Sri Lanka unable to contain the skipper, who continued to charge down the track, smashing Perera for six over midwicket before Moeen Ali departed cheaply.

The magnificent Root moved into the 90s by launching Dananjaya over the ropes and let out a roar after bringing up his 15th Test hundred by steering Suranga Lakmal to the third-man boundary just after tea.

Root was also undone sweeping Dananjaya, but the impressive Foakes had a half-century when he swatted Perera over the ropes after Dananjaya bowled Sam Curran first ball with a beauty and then removed Adil Rashid. 

Deteriorating light and a subsequent downpour brought a premature halt to what was England's day, Foakes still there brimming with confidence following his debut hundred in Galle.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has allayed fears he will miss the first Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi with a groin strain.

England captain Joe Root received the first demerit point of his career for breaching the ICC's code of conduct on a day when Sri Lanka claimed a 46-run lead in Pallekele.

Roshen Silva steered Sri Lanka into a lead with a classy half-century after England looked destined to take a healthy advantage on day two of the second Test in Pallekele.

Sri Lanka were in trouble on 165-6 on Thursday but led by 46 at stumps after recovering to 336 all out.

Dimuth Karunaratne (63) and Dhananjaya de Silva (59) made half-centuries and Roshen top scored with a superb 85 after receiving support from the tail.

Jack Leach (3-70) and Adil Rashid (3-76) took three wickets apiece, while the tourists were also boosted by five penalty runs - taking their first-innings total up to 290 – awarded after Roshen was adjudged to have deliberately run short.

Sri Lanka added 84 runs for the last two wickets as they attempt to level the three-match series, with nightwatchman Leach successfully seeing off one over before the close.

Moeen Ali (2-85) struck in the third over of the day after Sri Lanka resumed on 26-1, Malinda Pushpakumara (4) giving Rory Burns a simple catch at midwicket.

Karunaratne played with great application for a deserved half-century and it took a moment of brilliance from Ben Stokes to run the opener out with a direct hit when the all-rounder only had one stump to aim at.

Sri Lanka were 139-4 at lunch after Stokes demonstrated his prowess in the field again with a brilliant instinctive one-handed catch at first slip when Leach drew an edge from Kusal Mendis (1).

Dhananjaya pulled Stokes for four to bring up his half-century and played with finesse before he was caught behind off Rashid, who generated huge turn to remove Angelo Mathews (20) in the same manner.

Roshen played with increasing authority in a tricky situation, but Sri Lanka were facing a big first-innings deficit when Niroshan Dickwella (26) was trapped leg before by Joe Root.

Dilruwan Perera became Leach's third victim just two balls after Roshen reached his fourth Test half-century at the start of the final session, but Akila Dananjaya offered support in a ninth-wicket stand of 56.

There was confusion when umpire Marais Erasmus deemed Roshen ran short on purpose at the non-striker's end before returning to other, as he and Dananjaya looked unsure if the ball touched the boundary ropes at third man.

He took that on the chin and dished out more punishment of his own, lofting Moeen for six before Rashid finally dismissed him to end the innings after Dananjaya fell for a brisk 31.

Leach played out an over from Dilruwan with confidence as Burns watched on at the other end, ensuring no further damage was done on a frustrating day for Root's side.

Brendan Taylor's second century of the match was in vain as Mehidy Hasan spun Bangladesh to a 218-run win over Zimbabwe and a 1-1 series draw in Dhaka.

Taylor made two hundreds in a Test for the second time in his career, but was left stranded on 106 when the tourists were dismissed for 224 on day five.

Mehidy took 5-38 - his fifth five-wicket Test haul - as Zimbabwe lost their last five wickets for 38 runs, leaving Taylor unbeaten after scoring a defiant 106 to equal Andy Flower's tally of 16 centuries for Zimbabwe.

Peter Moor offered some support, but Mehidy ran through the tail to seal victory in the second session at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, where Mushfiqur Rahim was named Man of the Match for his record 219 not out.

Mustafizur Rahman got the breakthrough after Zimbabwe resumed on 76-2, cleaning up Sean Williams (13) in the ninth over of the day and Sikandar Raza (12) followed caught and bowled by Taijul Islam (2-93).

Taylor and Moor combined for a 139-run stand in the first innings and frustrated the Tigers again, occupying the crease with patience to give Zimbabwe hope of clinging on for a draw.

The excellent Taylor reached a 95-ball half-century before lunch, but Mehidy struck again after the interval, reducing Hamilton Masakadza's side to 186-5 when Moor was caught at short leg by Imrul Kayes. 

Regis Chakabva was run out attempting an ill-advised single and although Taylor reached three figures by taking a positive approach to Taijul, Mehidy took three quick wickets to secure victory, with Tendai Chatara unable to bat.

Sam Curran believes England's spinners will be pivotal in their attempts to secure a series-sealing win in Kandy after the tourists' batsmen posted 285 on the first day of the second Test against Sri Lanka.

England, who recorded a convincing 211-run win in the first Test in Galle, won the toss and elected to bat but were in danger of failing to reach 200 when 171-7.

Yet Curran's superb 64, which included six sixes, helped Joe Root's men to 285 before Jack Leach bowled Kaushal Silva prior to stumps to leave Sri Lanka 26-1, still 259 runs in arrears.

Leach's delivery gripped and straightened before clipping the top of off stump and Curran expects the 27-year-old - along with Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid - to have a huge say in the coming days.

"You saw in the evening how much it spun," Curran told Sky Sports.

"The next couple of days are going to be exciting for spin bowlers and batters are going to be on their toes.

"Spinners are going to have a huge role and we've got three great spinners all bowling very nicely.

"We have a score we're fairly happy about with the surface breaking up and cracks getting a bit bigger."

Curran top-scored for England but Jos Buttler's 67-ball 63 was also a crucial knock.

It came either side of the lunch interval and Curran thought the hosts were running out of ideas for how to get Buttler out.

"Jos came in and played the way we know he can do: sweeping, reverse sweeping, running down - they looked like they started to panic a little bit," he added.

"It got to the stage after lunch where he was almost reverse sweeping or sweeping every ball, the field was all over the place."

Curran made a half-century for the third time in 11 Test innings and his 60-run final stand with James Anderson was England's most productive of the day.

"It was crucial - getting close to 300 was massive for us," he added.

"Me and Jimmy had quite a bit of fun out there. He was probably the one telling me to calm down and trust him.

"You've just got to back your ability, take the risks when you need to. Joe Root has been massive in the dressing room, saying: 'Don't worry about making mistakes'. We're just trying to go out with a positive mind-set."

West Indies will be without captain Jason Holder for their upcoming tour of Bangladesh due to a shoulder injury.

Holder featured in the five-match one-day series in India but has suffered "a partial thickness tear of the subscapularis tendon in his shoulder," according to a West Indies Cricket Board statement.

While the skipper undergoes physiotherapy and rehabilitation in Barbados, Kraigg Brathwaite will lead the side for two Tests, three ODIs and three Twenty20 internationals against Bangladesh.

"I am definitely disappointed not being able to make the tour to Bangladesh," Holder told the Barbados Cricket Association website.

"But based on the advice from the medical team, we felt this was the best course of action to deal with the ongoing issues I have been having with my shoulder and prevent further damage.

"I've been having issues with my shoulder since the World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe in March. Since then I have been trying to manage it and the pain levels, but it has got to a point now where I've got to take time to correct it so that going forward I have no further issues.

"Obviously I am disappointed to miss the tour but I know the boys are capable of beating Bangladesh."

All-rounder Raymon Reifer takes Holder's place in the touring party in the only change from the group that travelled to India.

Chittagong and Mirpur host the two Test matches, with the latter venue sharing the limited-overs fixtures with Sylhet.
 

West Indies squad: Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Jahmar Hamilton, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Shermon Lewis, Keemo Paul, Kieran Powell, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach, Jomel Warrican.

Sam Curran rescued England on the opening day of the second Test against Sri Lanka with a brilliant fifty on a difficult pitch in Kandy.

On a dry track offering plenty of turn from the outset, England appeared set for a mediocre total until Curran cut loose with six maximums helping him score 64 and lift his team to 285 all out.

The 20-year-old's excellent, attacking knock frustrated Sri Lanka as he motored from 16 to 51 in the space of 27 deliveries, building a 60-run partnership with James Anderson (7 not out) for the final wicket.

Sri Lanka missed two opportunities to catch Curran – Malinda Pushpakumara inexplicably dropped him on the long-on boundary and Angelo Mathews saw the ball bounce just before going into his hands – before Dilruwan Perera (4-61) finally had his man to bring the innings to a close.

Jack Leach (1-7) ensured the hosts did not get to stumps without loss, bowling Kaushal Silva on six as Suranga Lakmal's team closed on 26-1.

Keaton Jennings scored a second-innings century in the first Test but was unable to continue that form as he nicked Lakmal (1-44) to Niroshan Dickwella for just one.

England lost Ben Stokes (19) and skipper Joe Root (14) before Rory Burns fell short of a maiden Test fifty in just his second appearance by edging Akila Dananjaya (2-80) to Dhananjaya de Silva on 43, with the tourists left in trouble on 89-4.

Jos Buttler (63) looked in fine fettle as he helped get England back on track with a half-century that included seven boundaries, but Ben Foakes (19) bizarrely did not suggest a review and simply walked off despite not appearing to have connected with the bat when he was caught off Dilruwan at slip.

After Buttler swatted a poor reverse sweep off Pushpakumara (3-89) and Moeen Ali (10) and Leach (7) fell, Curran provided plenty of sting in the tail. He smashed two sixes off one Dananjaya over and plundered another off Perera in the next set of six.

Curran cleared the ropes before being put down by Pushpakumara, to which he responded by sending a sweet maximum back down the ground.

Mathews narrowly missed out on catching Curran after rushing in from long on, though Dimuth Karunaratne did not err when the Surrey youngster went for another six two balls later.

Sri Lanka were unable to head into day two with their opening duo after Leach bowled Kaushal around the wicket in stunning fashion, meaning Karunaratne (19no) and Pushpakumara (1) will begin day two 259 runs behind.

Mahmudullah scored an unbeaten century as Bangladesh made strides towards victory on day four of the second Test against Zimbabwe in Dhaka.

Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah (101 not out) got his first Test hundred since February 2010 as the hosts set a target of 443 by declaring on 224-6, and they made in-roads as Zimbabwe lost two wickets before stumps.

Zimbabwe's outlook would have been optimistic earlier on Wednesday, with Kyle Jarvis (2-27) claiming the wickets of Imrul Kayes (3) and Liton Das (6) in the space of three balls before Donald Tiripano (2-31) dismissed Mominul Haque (1) and Mushfiqur Rahim (7) to leave Bangladesh in trouble on 25-4.

However, Mahmudullah and Mohammad Mithun (67) stopped the rot with a fifth-wicket stand of 118.

The skipper found the ropes four times and added a pair of maximums to anchor the hosts' innings, with Mehidy Hasan (27 off 34) proving a capable deputy after Ariful Haque went for five.

Zimbabwe's hopes of claiming a second victory had already taken a hit, and they suffered a further setback with opening duo Hamilton Masakadza (25) and Brian Chari (43) falling in the final session.

The visitors closed on 76-2, trailing by 367, and will have to produce a stunning effort on day five if they are to even hold out for a draw.

England have made the tough call to leave Jonny Bairstow out and name an unchanged team for the second Test against Sri Lanka, which starts on Wednesday.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Bairstow missed the first match of the series, a game England won impressively by 211 runs in Galle, after suffering an ankle injury during the limited-overs leg of the tour.

His absence offered an opportunity to Ben Foakes, who marked his international debut by scoring a century in the first innings while also impressing with his work behind the stumps.

Captain Joe Root had already announced Foakes would retain his place but Bairstow - who averages 37.19 in his Test career - has also missed out on selection as a frontline batsman in Pallekele, with England opting to go with the same XI.

"Having had a good look at the surface today, we feel the side that won the first Test will give us the best opportunity for us to get something out of this Test," Root said on the eve of the match.

"The surface is dry and it will spin. The balance of the team is ideal for these conditions. We can also adapt, if the situation dictates, as we showed in Galle."

Root confirmed the fit-again Bairstow was available and, despite being left out on this occasion, still remains an "integral" part of the team's plans.

"[Coach] Trevor [Bayliss] and I have spoken to him about finding the right balance for this Test with the conditions we are expecting," he added.

"He understands the situation and is aware that we have to pick the side that are best suited to conditions we can expect. It is unfortunate that he missed out through injury in the first Test.

"He is an integral part of our plans and is a key member of our core squad and his experience around the group is important."

However, while it will be the same XI on duty, England's skipper revealed there will be alterations to the batting order, with Ben Stokes pushed up to number three and Jos Buttler to come in at five, one spot ahead of the demoted Moeen Ali.

"We are in a fortunate position that many in the side could bat in that position," Root said. 

"Ben's technique is sound and he will be able to adapt to this role. He is one of the fittest guys in the side, so the intensity of batting in the top order and bowling as one of our three seamers will not faze him.

"If we feel that he has done a tremendous workload with the ball, then we can adapt and alter the order if it's necessary, but I don't expect that to happen.

"Ben is relishing the added responsibility of doing a job at three."

Brendan Taylor hit his fifth Test century but Taijul Islam had the last word in Dhaka to boost Bangladesh's hopes of a series-levelling victory over Zimbabwe.

Replying to Bangladesh's mammoth first-innings score of 522-7, the tourists ended day three in the second Test 304 all out, meaning they still trail by 218 runs.

They had at one stage slipped to 131-5 before Taylor combined with Peter Moor to put on a 139-run stand that held up the home side's progress either side of the tea interval.

However, once the partnership was broken, Ariful Haque trapping Moor lbw for a career-best 83 despite the batsman attempting to overturn the on-field decision with the aid of the review system, Zimbabwe's innings subsided quickly in the final session.

Taylor became the seventh batsman to depart when his knock of 110 came to an end in specular fashion, a diving Taijul clinging on to a stunning catch in the deep.

Zimbabwe lost two more wickets prior to the close of play and with Tendai Chatara unable to bat due to a leg injury, they face the prospect of being asked to follow on by home skipper Mahmudullah.

Taijul (5-107) was the pick of the Bangladesh attack, claiming his third successive five-wicket haul in the longest format after taking 11 in a losing cause in the first Test in Sylhet.

Having knocked over four of Zimbabwe's top six, the slow left-armer dismissed Regis Chakabva with what turned out to be the final ball of Monday's play, aided by a sharp catch by Mominul Haque at short leg.

Opener Brian Chari had earlier made 53 before departing to Mehidy Hasan, who backed up fellow spinner Taijul with 3-61 from 20 overs.

Ben Foakes will collect his second Test cap against Sri Lanka this week, England captain Joe Root has revealed.

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