Jonny Bairstow took a swipe at his critics and outlined his determination to resume wicketkeeping duties after making a magnificent century on his return to the England Test side.

Jonny Bairstow made a brilliant sixth Test century on his return to the England side but Lakshan Sandakan took four wickets as Sri Lanka fought back on day one in Colombo.

Bairstow was overlooked for the second match of the series after being ruled out of the opener due to an ankle injury, but grasped his opportunity at number three on Friday.

The 29-year-old played with the sort of fluency and assurance the tourists have been lacking at such a troublesome spot in the order, crafting a composed 110 before England closed on 312-7 as they eye a 3-0 whitewash.

Bairstow put on 100 with Joe Root (46) for the third wicket and added 99 with Ben Stokes (57) for the fourth in good batting conditions.

Sandakan took 4-91 on a largely frustrating day for Sri Lanka, who paid the price for using up their reviews early on when Stokes should have gone leg before without scoring.

England lost both openers cheaply after Root won yet another toss, Rory Burns bowled attempting to cut Dilruwan Perera and Keaton Jennings caught by Roshen Silva at short leg off Malinda Pushpakumara.

Bairstow and Root steadied the ship, the Yorkshire duo playing the sweep with authority and latching onto anything short as they took the score on to 102-2 at lunch.

Captain Root – a centurion in the second Test – was not at his eye-catching best and threw his wicket away when he top-edged to Danushka Gunathilaka slog-sweeping Sandakan.

A sweep brought up a 76-ball half-century for Bairstow and Sri Lanka were left to rue a lack of reviews when Stokes was rapped on the pads in front by Dilruwan, umpire Chris Gaffney keeping his finger down when the ball would have struck middle stump.

Stokes looked uncertain at the start of his innings, but the runs start to flow for the all-rounder, who reverse-swept Sandakan for four and launched Dilruwan for a straight six.

Bairstow continued to tick along nicely and was unruffled when Sri Lanka thought he had been strangled caught behind down the leg side by Dilruwan.

Fine footwork allowed Stokes to superbly dispatch Dilruwan over the ropes for a second time before reaching his half-century from 78 balls and Bairstow swept the spinner for a couple to move into the 90s after England took tea on 197-3.

A dog stopped play with Bairstow on 98, but he was soon barking out a huge roar to celebrate reaching three figures with another sweep.

Sandakan ended a long stand when Stokes edged a sharply turning delivery to Dhananjaya de Silva at first slip and the same bowler cleaned up Bairstow soon after he should have been given lbw.

Moeen Ali was dropped by Niroshan Dickwella on two and put down by Dilruwan Karunaratne after the all-rounder successfully reviewed an lbw decision in the same Dilruwan over. 

Pushpakumara removed Ben Foakes late in the day and Moeen was still there on 23 at the close after overturning another leg before decision from Dilruwan with what proved to be the final ball of the day.

Stuart Broad still has an important role to play in England's Test team despite seeing his chances reduced during the tour of Sri Lanka.

With spin-friendly pitches in the subcontinent England have deployed three spinners and just one specialist seamer, with James Anderson given the nod for the opening two matches.

Broad will take his place for the final clash in Colombo this week and Root was keen to stress the 32-year-old remains a key member of their five-day squad.

"You look at the experience he can bring to the team and his record in English conditions, and what he's capable of there, and he's invaluable," Root said of Broad. 

"He's still one of England's best bowlers - I genuinely believe that - but we've had to be quite cute and smart about exploiting these conditions here and we'll have to do the same later on in the winter in the West Indies.

"I'm very aware how talented the group is and how talented our two senior guys are. We generally get very excited about wishing people into retirement and I think with those two in particular, we have to make the most of them while we can, be smart about managing and see how long they can go for.

"They both look on top of their game at the moment, if you ask me. They're both bowling fantastically well and keep looking to improve and get better. As far as I'm concerned I want to get the most out of them for as long as we can."

The third Test also sees Jonny Bairstow back in the England side and he will be the latest batsman to be tried in the troublesome number three position.

Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali have both had chances at three on this tour, and Root hopes to find a permanent resolution soon.

"We want to have that position nailed down," Root told BBC Sport. "The exciting thing is we've found ways of winning matches without that.

"Over the next few months, if that can be nailed on then we'll see another step in the right direction for this team."

Sri Lanka have drafted Danushka Gunathilaka in for Dinesh Chandimal, while Akila Dananjaya misses out as he has his biomechanics test on his action in Australia.

Lakshan Sandakan is expected to take the spinner's place in Colombo, and stand-in captain Suranga Lakmal knows his bowlers have to perform better to restrict their opponents – particularly the tail.

"We can't be making spinning pitches and keep letting their tail get runs," he said. "We have a plan to stop them.

"We gave the spinners a lot of overs at the tail in the previous games because the pitch suited them. But as a seam bowler, maybe there will be a change in this match."

Joe Root has defended the repeated tinkering of England's batting order and believes his side are "on track" to become the world's best team in Test cricket.

James Anderson will be rested for the third and final Test in Sri Lanka, with Stuart Broad taking his place in the England side.

The tourists have already wrapped up the series ahead of the concluding match in Colombo, having won the first two Tests in Galle and Pallekele.

Broad was dropped for those encounters but returns at the ground where he made his Test debut in 2007.

"I understand the reasoning behind it with the series already won," said Anderson.

"With the winter we've got ahead, it makes sense for Stuart to get some cricket. He's not played for a while and it's going to be a tough tour of the West Indies. 

"It's a good opportunity for him and the team. You have to look at the situation as well – it's hard work for seamers here and it's not like I've been able to have a huge input on the games."

The third Test begins on Friday.

Sri Lanka have added Nishan Peiris to their squad for the third and final Test against England after Akila Dananjaya was reported for a suspect bowling action.

Spinner Dananjaya took eight wickets in the second Test after being given 14 days to respond to the charge but is set to be assessed at the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane on Friday.

The third Test gets under way in Colombo on Friday, with 21-year-old Peiris - previously a member of Sri Lanka's Under-19 and 'A' sides - included despite only having 12 first-class matches under his belt.

Sri Lanka will hope his lack of experience is not an issue and that he can transfer some promising early form to the senior international stage, having taken 38 wickets at 29.52, including two five-wicket hauls.

England have already won the series following victories in Galle and Pallekele.

Jonny Bairstow is desperate to earn back his Test place for England's third and final match with Sri Lanka after losing his spot to Ben Foakes.

Bairstow came into the tour as England's first-choice wicketkeeper-batsman but an ankle injury suffered in a game of football prior to the first Test saw him sidelined.

Foakes took his chance with a century in Galle and an impressive 65 last time out in Kandy, while taking five catches across the two games.

Colombo hosts the final Test of the series this week and Bairstow hopes he can force his way back into the reckoning, with or without the gloves.

"Of course [it's hard not being in the side]," he told talkSPORT.

"I've worked hard and had that spot for two-and-a-half years and over the 40 or so Tests I think my overall average is about 42 so to do that – keep wicket, bat at five or six or seven in all different conditions I'm very proud of that.

"And yes, Ben came in and has played well. 

"Look, selection is above my pay grade that's why you want to be giving other people headaches with that. 

"I'm training hard, hitting the ball nicely in the nets and I'd like to think people know that in the background I'll be pushing as hard as possible to be playing this week."

England captain Joe Root is satisfied with the way both his words and actions inspired England to victory in the second Test against Sri Lanka.

A 57-run victory in Pallekele secured the series win for England - a first away from home since January 2016 and a first in Sri Lanka since 2001.

Root had challenged his players to be bold in the second of three Tests and his own 124 in the second innings made a significant contribution to the victory, earning him the Man of the Match award.

"I'm really pleased to back up everything I've spoken about and the way that I did it," Root told Sky Sports.

"It's nice to make a big contribution but the thing that sits well with me is the manner in which I did it. I asked the guys to play a certain way, and I went out and backed it up myself."

England returned on day five needing only three wickets to make sure of the win and they cleaned up the Sri Lankan tail in just 31 minutes.

"We were pretty confident," Root continued. "We knew we'd be able to create three chances on that surface, but we also recognised that when partnerships developed it became quite difficult.

"We tried to stay as calm as possible, trust all the plans we had, and follow through on that, and thankfully it paid off."

Root believes the performance demonstrates a tremendous strength in depth in England at the moment.

"Look at the guys we've got on the sidelines," he added. "We've got some very exciting young players and a lot of experience, and for Stuart Broad [and Jonny Bairstow] to have no played a part in this series shows the strength of the squad, and the adaptability as well.

"Around the world we could have played a very different side with a similar well-balanced look to it.

"It's nice to be in a position where all 17 guys could walk into the team and it wouldn't look any less balanced, or out of place in these conditions."

England clinched their first away series victory since January 2016 with a 57-run win against Sri Lanka in Pallekele on Sunday, but the second Test was also notable for its record-breaking bowling stats.

The match - which also sealed England's first series win in Sri Lanka since 2001 - saw 38 of the 40 wickets taken by spin bowlers, setting a new marker in Test cricket.

Akila Dananjaya and Jack Leach took eight wickets apiece, while Dilruwan Perera was one off that pair with seven and Moeen Ali boasted six scalps.

Malinda Pushpakumara and Adil Rashid each ended the match with four wickets and England captain Joe Root took one.

Dimuth Karunaratne was run out by Ben Stokes during Sri Lanka's first innings, leaving Suranga Lakmal as the only non-spin bowler to claim a wicket.

The previous best was 37 in a Test between India and New Zealand in 1969, while India clashes with Australia in 1956 and Pakistan in 1987 featured 35 spin wickets.

The third and final Test gets under way in Colombo on Friday.

Jack Leach grabbed his maiden five-wicket haul in Tests as England sealed a series win over Sri Lanka with a 57-run victory on Sunday.

Leach (5-83) and Moeen Ali (4-72) made quick work of the final three Sri Lanka wickets on day five of the second Test in Kandy.

The result gave England a 2-0 lead in the three-Test series and marked their first series win in Sri Lanka since 2001.

Resuming at 226-7, Sri Lanka still had hope of making the remaining 75 runs for victory.

But those chances took a huge blow early, Niroshan Dickwella (35) edging Moeen to Ben Stokes at slip.

Moeen struck again two balls later, a beautiful delivery beating Suranga Lakmal (0) through the gate and crashing into off stump.

Leach completed his five-for with the final wicket, Malinda Pushpakumara (1) giving the left-arm spinner a return catch as England wrapped up their win.

The final Test of the series begins in Colombo on Friday.

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.

Windies skipper Stafanie Taylor was satisfied with the team’s batting effort after recording a comfortable 83-run victory over Sri Lanka on Friday.

After being accused of going missing earlier in the tournament, following subpar performances against Bangladesh and South Africa, the Windies top order got their act together in time to punish the Sri Lanka bowlers. 

Led by a belligerent 62 from opener Hayley Matthews and 49 from Deandra Dottin, the Windies put on 94 for the first wicket.

Taylor, who came to crease when the partnership was broken after Matthews’ dismissal, then added 41 from 25 balls to help the team post an unassailable 187.

In response, the Sri Lankan’s anchored by 44 from their captain Chamari Atapattu, were helped by some sloppiness in the field but still fell far short of making the match competitive after being dismissed for 104. 

“We came to the party with our batting, but I can’t say the same for the fielding.  We looked a bit ragged there,” Taylor said.

“We said that we just needed to apply ourselves out there spent some time at the crease.  The reason for winning the toss and batting was that I found that the pitch might be a keeping a bit low,” she added.

The Windies top order came to the party to post their highest Twenty20 International total of 187/5, and backed it up with a dominant performance on the field to wrap up an 83-run win over Sri Lanka in Match 16 of the ICC Women's World T20 and seal their spot in the semi-final. 

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."

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.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.