A thrilling century from Moeen Ali helped England to seize total control of the second Test match against Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street. The stylish left-hander scored his second Test hundred from 152 balls and he eventually finished the innings unbeaten on 155 as England scored 498 for nine before captain Alastair Cook decided to declare.
Ali's innings was not without alarm, though. The Worcestershire all-rounder was dropped in the gully on 36 in the third over of the morning and again on 105, when Milinda Siriwardana shelled a straightforward chance at deep square-leg.
Ali was also assisted by the bizarre tactics of Sri Lankan captain Angelo Matthews, who did not appear to have a clear plan of how to dismiss the England tail. Indeed, Ali and Steven Finn staged a 72-run stand as the opposition captain employed some strange field settings.
However, Ali also produced some eye-catching drives through the off-side off the seam bowlers, and showed good footwork to attack the spin of Rangana Herath, who took his 300th Test wicket when he dismissed Finn for 10.
The Sri Lankans' mood darkened even further by the time it was their turn to bat, too, as Stuart Broad (3-35), James Anderson (2-31) and the returning Chris Woakes (3-9) all produced impressive spells of swing and seam bowling to reduce the tourists to 91 for eight at the close.
Assuming England bowl Sri Lanka out quickly tomorrow morning and opt to enforce the follow on, the hosts could well wrap up victory inside three days to secure a series win.