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Sri Lanka in a spin against English duo in third Test

COLOMBO, March 15 (AFP) - England hit back strongly through spinners Ashley Giles and Robert Croft to reduce Sri Lanka to 221 for seven on the first day of the third and final Test Thursday.

Sri Lanka were cruising at 205 for three when the dismissal of Aravinda de Silva for 38 sparked a collapse that saw four wickets tumble for just 14 runs off England's spin duo.

De Silva and Mahela Jayawardene shared a fourth wicket stand of 97 and looked to be taking Sri Lanka towards a solid total after Sanath Jayasuriya won the toss and elected to bat first.

De Silva was given out caught off bat-pad by umpire David Orchard when he attempted to hit Giles off his legs and popped the ball into Michael Vaughan's hands at silly mid-off.

He was lucky to survive a chance at 21 when umpire Orchard turned down a catch by Nasser Hussain in the slips off Giles that nipped the outside edge of De Silva's bat.

Giles, who had taken only a solitary wicket in the series for 239 runs, won a successful leg before decision against Russel Arnold who trudged back to the pavilion for a duck.

Off-spinner Croft then turned the screws further by trapping Tillekeratne Dilshan lbw for five. He then enticed Jayawardene into an attempted cut when on 71 but he was caught behind by wicket-keeper Alec Stewart in the penultimate over before the close.

Jayawardene batted superbly for his runs, driving, cutting and pulling the English bowlers to all parts of the field. His innings included 10 fours and a towering six off Giles soon after reaching his half-century.

Overall he batted 189 minutes and faced 152 balls.

England came back into the Test late in the final session after Sri Lanka had made a sound start.

Sri Lanka recovered from losing the wicket of Marvan Atapattu for a duck in the second over to move to 88 for one.

The hosts lost the wicket of Kumar Sangakkara in the first over after lunch when the lefthander drove uppishly to Matthew Vaughan at point off Darren Gough without adding to his score of 45, which included eight fours.

Sanath Jayasuriya also departed with on 45, when Craig White snapped up a catch at backward point off Croft. It was the Sri Lankan captain's highest score in his last 11 Test innings, beating his previous best of 26.

The series is currently level at 1-1.

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