Nervous England lose quick wickets in chase to win Sri Lanka Test
Sri Lanka rattled England with three quick wickets late on the fourth day of the first Test in Galle on Sunday, but the visitors remained favourites to win the match with just 36 more runs needed and seven wickets in hand.
But Sri Lanka struck early, with Dom Sibley (2) and Zak Crawley (8) falling to left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya. Captain Joe Root was run-out for one after a mix-up with Jonny Bairstow.
Bairstow and Dan Lawrence, who was making his debut, took a nervous England to 38-3 as bad light brought an early end to proceedings at Galle International Stadium.
Earlier, left-armer Jack Leach tighten the noose around the hosts with a five-wicket haul while off-spinner Dom Bess claimed three wickets.
Sri Lanka were bundled out for 135 runs in their first innings.
Mathews stitched a 48-run partnership with Dickwella before the wicketkeeper-batsman nicked one behind off Bess.
England took a review against Mathews after the on-field umpire ruled not out to an lbw appeal from Bess. However, replays showed the ball was missing the stumps.
"I felt actually my pace needed to be a little bit quicker. I think this morning I felt I probably didn't bowl at great pace and therefore it was easier for them to get back and create room for themselves," the Somerset bowler said.
"I reflected on that. And when I was to return, I felt I wanted to bowl a little bit faster and more direct, I guess, at the area I was trying to bowl."
Leach suffers from Crohn's Disease and had a bad run with illnesses during England's winter tours of New Zealand and South Africa. He said he was feeling tired and sore after the day's exploits.
"I guess I'm gonna need to rest up but you know, I'm just taking a day at a time, taking a game at a time," he added.
"So you know, I guess something I've learnt is you never know what's around the corner, so I'm just try to enjoy each day and see what happens really."
The match is being played in an empty stadium due to Covid-19 restrictions.