|Third Test, Lord’s, day three:|
|England 416 & 109-4: Hales 41*, Pradeep 3-25|
|Sri Lanka 288: Silva 79, Karunaratne 50, Woakes 3-31, Finn 3-59|
|England lead by 237 runs|
Chris Woakes took 3-31 as England bowled Sri Lanka out for 288 to take a grip on the third Test at Lord’s.
Woakes took the key wickets of Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews and was well supported by Steven Finn’s 3-59 as the tourists slumped from 162-1 overnight, as only Kusal Perera (42) resisted.
Under-pressure England man Nick Compton was out for 19 as the hosts lost three wickets for five runs in reply.
But they closed day three on 109-4, leading by 237.
Jonny Bairstow was out for 32 before the close, one of three wickets for the impressive Nuwan Pradeep, but Alex Hales remains unbeaten on 41.
Young pacemen lead the way
For much of this series, and indeed recent series, England’s main wicket-taking threat has come from the enduring class of James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
But instead it was Woakes and Finn who took centre-stage as Sri Lanka’s habit of losing wickets in clusters once again bedevilled them.
Woakes should have had a wicket with his first ball on Friday – only to see Dimuth Karunaratne dropped by Bairstow – but this time he did strike with his first delivery of the day, pinning Mendis lbw for 25, before he had Mathews caught at slip for three.
Finn, bowling with by far his best rhythm of the series, then had Dinesh Chandimal lbw for 19 and enticed Lahiru Thirimanne to edge to slip for 17.
Their form will pose a dilemma for the England selectors, with one of the two likely to lose their place when all-rounder Ben Stokes returns from injury.
Compton and Vince continue to struggle
Having established a 128-run first-innings lead, England were forced to turn to an unfamiliar opening combination, with Alastair Cook unavailable having gone for a scan on a knee injury sustained at silly point.
However, Compton’s promotion up the order to the position in which he played his first nine Tests for England did little to revitalise his fortunes, as he nicked Eranga behind.
Having mustered just 51 runs at an average of 12.75 in this series, and with number threes like Scott Borthwick and Tom Westley scoring heavily in county cricket, the likelihood must be that 32-year-old Compton’s 16th Test will be his last.
He was swiftly followed back to the pavilion by Joe Root – bowled by a scuttler from Pradeep – and, one ball later, Vince, bowled shouldering arms to the same bowler.
With 54 runs at 13.5, Vince has scarcely fared any better than Compton in this series, and while he will surely be given the series against Pakistan, he still has much to do to prove himself in Test cricket.
Cook’s up-and-down day
It has been a tumultuous 24 hours for England captain Cook, who was made a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list announced on Friday.
But he was hit on the knee by a lusty drive from Perera and went to hospital for a scan, meaning that – for the first time since 2006 – England opened the batting in a home Test without the Essex man.
However, the scan revealed nothing more sinister than bruising and Cook is expected to bat in the morning.
What they said
England bowler Steven Finn on Sky Sports: “We’ve had a very good day. Only taking one wicket yesterday, to come back and bowl them out for 288 was a very good effort. To be 237 runs ahead and the ball is spinning a little bit…
“If we can get far enough ahead and get an unassailable lead, we can put Sri Lanka under some pressure.
“I’ve felt good in this game, back to normal. It’s good to contribute again. I was maybe feeling for it a bit. Once I got into the spell I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott on BBC Test Match Special: “The England top order has failed. The middle-order batting and the bowlers get England their wins. It doesn’t fill you with confidence.
“Keep Vince, they have to give a player a good chance. He’s got a bit to do. Compton, sadly, they will have to pick somebody else. The selectors have to identify someone and say ‘his chance is now’.”