He added an unbroken 70-run stand with Dilruwan after Anderson, Wood struck early on day two
Lunch: Sri Lanka 313 for 6 (Mathews 110, Dickwella 78*, Anderson 4-29, Wood 2-65) vs England
James Anderson picked up where he left off but, where Angelo Mathews could not, Niroshan Dickwella stepped up to keep Sri Lanka in an engaging tussle with England on the second morning of the second Test.
By the end of a keenly contested first session, Sri Lanka had added 84 runs to their overnight score for the loss of two wickets with Dickwella eyeing his maiden Test century.
Anderson struck with his sixth ball of the day to remove Mathews, who managed to add just three runs to his score. Those three came off Sam Curran, carved through point, only Dom Bess throwing body with characteristic enthusiasm to ground preventing the boundary.
Mathews fell in the next over amid a subdued England appeal when he appeared to get a faint edge to Anderson with the ball then striking him on the knee roll before carrying to Jos Buttler behind the stumps. He was originally given not out but Joe Root called for a review and UltraEdge revealed a spike as the ball passed the bat to end Mathews’ fine innings and give Anderson his fourth wicket for the match.
Anderson continued in miserly fashion, conceding just five runs from his four-over spell.
Dickwella, meanwhile, shifted gears into drive, quite literally at times, as he assumed the lead upon debutant Ramesh Mendis’ arrival at the crease.
Having resumed on 19, Dickwella unfurled a series of well-timed boundaries throughout the morning session, carving Curran through backward point and punching Mark Wood through long-on.
A fantastic take by Buttler ensured Mendis’ stay was short-lived, a faint edge off Wood going down the leg side and finding Buttler’s glove at full stretch to his left had him gone for a duck.
Sri Lanka had lost 2 wickets for 11 runs in the space of 19 balls but Dickwella remained in excellent touch, piercing the covers with two beautiful drives, first off Wood then Anderson. He used Wood’s pace to guide the ball effortlessly to the rope at fine leg before bringing up his fifty with a single off Bess.
Dickwella’s best score in four innings on Sri Lanka’s recent tour of South Africa was 49. Having broken the half-century barrier, he continued to pick his moments to perfection, twice sweeping Bess to the boundary.
Jack Leach joined Bess in the attack as England opted for dual spinners after the first hour. Dilruwan Perera lofted Leach’s first ball over mid-on for four and skipped down the pitch a second time two overs later to send him over the top of mid-off as he provided solid support for Dickwella in a stand worth 70 at lunch.
Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo