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Alastair Cook relaxed but England failed to make most of benign track | Vic Marks

England’s captain made a smooth 85 but most of his fellow batsmen managed to throw away the initiative and it cost them dearly

For almost two sessions the gulf between Alastair Cook and the rest of the specialist batsmen was as wide as Nigel Farage’s grin, and no less disturbing to contemplate. England’s captain batted serenely on a friendly surface that shouted out to batsmen “remain” rather than “leave”, and he must have sensed another century. His one reliable ally was Jonny Bairstow, who cannot be defined as a specialist since he will be donning the gloves later in the match. Unlike Bairstow, badly dropped by Shaminda Eranga, Cook did not require any assistance from the Sri Lanka fielders until he was lbw to Nuwan Pradeep.

Related: Jonny Bairstow steadies England with fine century after Sri Lanka strike

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