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Alex Hales shines as England survive Sri Lanka’s catching masterclass

• Second Test, day one: England 310-6 v Sri Lanka
• Alex Hales (83) and Joe Root (80) star for England amid fine fielding

On a largely overcast day where Sri Lanka hung on tenaciously and caught like gods, England may already have played themselves into a strong position to win the series. The scoreboard shows England, who, counterintuitively, given the overhead conditions in particular and the manner in which Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad had dismantled the opposing batting in Leeds, opted to bat, have reached 310 for six, better than it sounds.

There were runs, 83 of them for Alex Hales to go with 86 at Headingley last week, and an unobtrusive 80 from Joe Root, who scores runs almost by stealth these days. Jonny Bairstow was brisk and businesslike for his 48 before falling to the new ball shortly before stumps. But Alastair Cook, who is approaching his 10,000 Test run landmark with the caution, shall we say, of a fellow wanting to get rid of a wasp nest in his shed while unsure if it is an old one, made only 15 of the 20 he needed to surpass it, and Nick Compton, whose place is under considerable scrutiny, only nine.

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