England wasted chances to dismiss Karunaratne and Mathews with all-rounder Ben Stokes the guilty fielder and off-spinner Moeen Ali the unfortunate bowler on both occasions.
Off-spinner Moeen Ali struck twice in three deliveries as England completed a 57-run victory in the second test against Sri Lanka on the final day on Sunday to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Kandy - Opener Rory Burns hit his maiden Test half-century to give England a crucial 85-run second-innings lead against a persistent Sri Lankan spin attack in the second Test on Friday.
"Ben is going to keep", Root said in comments published by The Independent before the team was announced. Stand-in skipper Suranga Lakmal was unbeaten on 15 at the end.
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Mathews narrowly missed out on catching Curran after rushing in from long on, though Dimuth Karunaratne did not err when the Surrey youngster went for another six two balls later.
England has not won a test series in Sri Lanka since 2001.
Stokes, who batted at number five in his team's opening win last week, was boosted up the order in the latest bid to find a solid number three.
'But if England find themselves 100-5, as they often do, I don't think they'll get out of that when you consider the 46-run lead'. "We can put them under pressure if we can get a couple of wickets early morning", said Karunaratne. "Had we got a bigger partnership we would have been in a commanding position", he added. Leach had figures of four for 73 from 23.2 overs.
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Karunaratne perished for 63 scored off 125 balls (4 fours) and nine runs later England had another wicket when Stokes was again in the act plucking a blinder of a catch at slip to send Kusal Mendis packing off for one.
"He's pretty much been faultless, not really stood out at all, which is probably a good thing for a wicketkeeper, and long-term I see him as a focal part of the test team".
Silva was also involved in an unusual incident that resulted in England gaining five penalty runs (which was added to their first innings total) when he failed to ground his bat at the non-striker's end and umpire Marais Erasmus of South Africa handed over five penalty runs, which could prove decisive in a close game.
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