England 109 for 4 at stumps, lead by 237 runs

Sri Lanka seamer Nuwan Pradeep took three wickets as England was positioned at 109 for 4 at stumps on Day Three of the third Test at Lord's, 237 runs ahead.

Nuwan Pradeep took 3 for 25 and could have claimed a fourth wicket late in the day.   -  Reuters

Nuwan Pradeep took three wickets and did some serious damage to a couple of England careers as Sri Lanka fought hard to avoid a series whitewash in the third Test at Lord's on Saturday.

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England in its second innings was 109 for four at the close of the third day, a healthy but not impregnable lead of 237 runs. Alex Hales was 41 not out, having been dropped on 19 and 39, with nightwatchman Steven Finn, missed on one, unbeaten on six.

England, 2-0 up in the three-match series, was rocking at 50 for three on Saturday before first-innings century-maker Jonny Bairstow helped Hales add 52 for the fourth wicket. Hales launched the innings with two fours in as many balls off Suranga Lakmal. But he was dropped on 19 when Dimuth Karunaratne failed to hold a one-handed slip chance off paceman Pradeep.

However, it wasn't long before Pradeep had Nick Compton out for 19 instead.

Compton had been promoted to open in place of England captain Alastair Cook, after the left-hander suffered a knee injury fielding close in earlier on Saturday. By his own admission, Compton needed a big score to secure his place.

But on his Middlesex home ground and one where a stand is named after his grandfather Denis Compton - one of England's greatest batsmen - he was caught behind tamely, pushing at Shaminda Eranga.

England was now 45 for one and that quickly became 50 for three.

Joe Root (four) was bowled by an absolute shooter from Pradeep. New batsman James Vince, like Compton, was in need of runs, albeit this was the Hampshire batsman's maiden Test series. But Vince was out for a golden duck as he deliberately played no shot to a Pradeep delivery that nipped back down the Lord's slope and knocked over his off stump.

Bairstow, in at 84 for four in the first innings before making a Test-best 167 not out, survived the hat-trick. But on 32 he too was clean bowled by Pradeep.

Double despair

Hales then saw a tough one-handed chance down the legside off Pradeep dropped by wicket-keeper Dinesh Chandimal. Worse followed for Pradeep next ball when Chandimal inexplicably failed to move for a Finn edge. Pradeep ended the day with three for 25 in nine overs but his figures could easily have been better.

Earlier, England all-rounder Chris Woakes started and finished a collapse that saw Sri Lanka, 162 for one overnight, dismissed for 288.

That gave England, who made 416 in their first innings, a lead of 128. Woakes, who took a wicket with his first ball Saturday, ended the innings with the opening delivery of a new spell when Eranga was caught in the slips.

Warwickshire all-rounder Woakes took three for 31 in 17.1 overs. Sri Lanka resumed on Saturday with Kaushal Silva 79 not out and Kusal Mendis 25 not. But they both fell for their overnight scores as Sri Lanka subsided in the face of increasingly accurate fast bowling, with the overcast conditions making batting harder than had been the case on Friday.

Woakes had Mendis lbw with his first ball Saturday before Silva was caught behind off Stuart Broad.

Kusal Perera (42) and Rangana Herath (31) fought back with a seventh-wicket stand of 71. Perera'a bold innings was particularly impressive as this was his first match in more than six months after a drugs ban was rescinded because of a botched analysis.

He was eventually caught behind after wildly slogging at James Anderson to start a slump that saw Sri Lanka lose all their last three wickets on 288.

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