'It looked like Sri Lanka were starting to panic' - Sam Curran

Sri Lanka's slapdash day in the field reached its nadir just when they needed to be at their most ruthless

Sam Curran said that his crucial tenth-wicket stand with James Anderson had been "quite a bit of fun", as England overcame another mid-innings wobble to post a hugely competitive 285 on the first day of the second Test at Pallekele.
Curran had been playing a supporting role to Adil Rashid on 16 from 64 balls when Anderson came out to join him with the score on 225 for 9. But he went into overdrive thereafter, crashing a total of six sixes and a four before being last man out for 64, his third half-century in just seven Test appearances.
And, when Jack Leach struck before the close to demonstrate the demons that could be lurking within the surface in the coming days, the true value of that late volley of runs had been amply demonstrated.
"It was crucial," said Curran at the close. "You saw in the evening how much it spun. Getting close to 300 was massive for us.
"Rash [Adil Rashid] played beautifully before tea and I tried to take over where he left off. We got a nice score on the board, and it was a great positive for Leachy to bowl a beautiful ball to get rid of the opener this evening."
Anderson's contribution to the last-wicket stand was seven runs out of 60, but having successfully overturned a first-ball lbw decision, he was made to face just 12 balls as Sri Lanka allowed Curran to dominate the strike through some lacklustre field placings.
"I was a little surprised," said Curran. "I gave myself a chance to take a few balls up top. They weren't bringing in the field.
"But me and Jimmy had quite a bit of fun out there. He was probably the one telling me to calm down and trust him. It was real good fun out there. It's a nice score on the board with the surface breaking up and cracks getting a bit bigger."
Curran also paid tribute to Jos Buttler's earlier half-century, a sweep-heavy 63 from 67 balls that had kept England's score moving in spite of the top-order wickets falling around him.
"Jos came in and played the way we know he can do: sweeping, reverse sweeping, running down," he said. "They looked like they started to panic a little bit almost. It got to the stage after lunch he was almost reverse-sweeping or or sweeping every ball, with the field all over the place.
"There's a ball in that wicket that generally is going to get you out. You've got to back your ability and take those risks when you can," he added. "Rooty's been massive in the dressing room saying 'don't worry about making mistakes', we're just trying to go out with a positive mindset."
Malinda Pushpakumara, Sri Lanka's left-arm spinner, admitted that, as a consequence of their positive approach, England's total had been significantly higher than his side had bargained for.
"We thought we should restrict them to 200," he said. "But the last pair added 60 runs and that's a big bonus for them. It will be tough for us. Our batsmen need to score all those runs. Our plan is to get 350 plus. We have to go for that plan."
Curran, however, was confident that England had the bowling attack to cement their dominance going into the second day's play.
"The spinners are going to have a huge role tomorrow," he said. "We've got three great spinners all bowling very nicely. The wicket is starting to turn from the straight which is a great sign for us, with a score we are fairly happy with.
"The next couple of days are going to be exciting for spin bowlers and batters are going to be on their toes."