Galle, Jan 24: England captain Joe Root smashed 186 runs to lead the touring side closer to Sri Lanka’s first-innings total as they finished day three of 2nd Test on 339 for nine, just 42 runs behind, on Sunday.

Root’s innings came to an end in the last over of the day when he was run out 14 short of another double hundred. Sri Lanka’s bowlers had no answer for the Yorkshireman and it appeared inevitable that he was only going to be dismissed through a run out. Root faced 309 deliveries and hit 18 fours in his monster innings.

Left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya finished with a seven-wicket haul but the day belonged to the England captain, who put up a splendid show of character and determination in batting for more than eight hours. He had posted a double hundred in the first test that England won by seven wickets.

England resumed from the overnight score of 98 for two and lost Jonny Bairstow (28) and Daniel Lawrence (3) early. Vice-captain Jos Buttler (55) added 97 runs for the fifth wicket with Root.

An 81-run stand for the seventh wicket between Dominic Bess (32) and Root took England’s total to 333 for six. But Sri Lanka struck back, taking three wickets for six runs late in the day to reduce the tourists to 339 for nine.

Brief score: Sri Lanka, 1st Innings: 381; England, 1st Innings: 339/9.  – AP