England’s James Anderson appeals for a dismissal against a Sri Lankan batsman during their second Test on Saturday. Courtesy: Twitter
England paceman James Anderson on Saturday said it is a “bigger achievement” to get five-wicket hauls in the sub-continent than back home after he helped bowl out Sri Lanka for 381 on day two in the second Test.
Anderson, 38, denied wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella a century after sending him back for 92 in Galle to claim his 30th five-wicket haul with figures of 6-40.
It was Anderson’s best figures in Asia as he went past his 5-75 in Galle in 2012 and said he felt good to get wickets in the hot and humid conditions.
“Yeah, I guess so. Certainly because conditions are very different you do feel it’s a bigger achievement,” Anderson told reporters.
“The weather has been rocket hot and to bowl the amount of overs, get the wickets and the rewards certainly feels very good.”
The tourists were 98 for two at stumps after Lasith Embuldeniya struck early to remove the openers. Skipper Joe Root, on 67, and Jonny Bairstow, on 24, were batting as England trail by 283 runs in Galle.
Anderson bowled 29 overs with 13 maidens before Sri Lanka were bowled out in an extended second session with Dilruwan Perera scoring a defiant 67.
“I think it was a really good effort to keep them under 400,” said Anderson, who has taken 606 wickets in 157 matches.
“We know now we’ve got to bat big, we’ve got to bat a long time to try and win this game but that’s what you’ve got to do in the sub-continent.”
The pace spearhead struck in his first over of the day to send Angelo Mathews caught behind for 110 after the former captain added just three runs in the morning. But the dismissal was skipper Joe Root’s mastermind after he reviewed the umpire’s call, which was not out, and replays suggested the ball had grazed Mathews’ bat.
Fast bowler Mark Wood sent debutant Ramesh Mendis trudging back to the pavilion for nought with wicketkeeper Jos Buttler taking a one-handed diving catch towards his left.
Dickwella made the team fight back with his 16th Test fifty as he put together a 89-run seventh-wicket stand with Perera.
Perera also dug in after Dickwella’s wicket and scored his seventh Test half-century to frustrate the England bowlers before falling to Sam Curran.
All the 10 wickets went to the pacemen with Wood taking three scalps.
Anderson, who replaced Stuart Broad in the team for this Test, said it is good have in-house competition among the quicks.
“It’s great we’ve got as many bowlers as we have got in form,” said Anderson.
“There’s guys on the sidelines who have worked tirelessly as well, we’ve got Chris Woakes fit and ready to go. All we can do is try to keep performing and hopefully we get the nod.”
But it was spin in the final session with left-arm orthodox Embuldeniya sending back Dom Sibley, for nought, and Zak Crawley, for five, in quick succession. Root and Bairstow got together to thwart the Sri Lankan attack as they put on an unbroken 93-run stand until the close of play.
Root, who hit 228 in his team’s opening win, recorded his 50th half-century in his 99th match and went past England great Geoff Boycott’s Test runs of 8,114.
The series, which is being played behind closed doors, resumed last week after being cancelled in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.