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Adil Rashid

Rashid hails impact of catch-machine Jennings

SL v Eng, 3rd Test, Day 2, reaction

Adil Rashid praised Keaton Jennings' superb catching at short-leg after the pair teamed up to spark a dramatic Sri Lankan collapse in the third Test in Colombo.

The hosts looked to be in the driving seat at 173/1 in reply to England's 336 but Rashid's career-best haul of 5/49, a brilliant spell of 3/30 from Ben Stokes and some outrageous close-catching from Jennings, who pouched four chances, led to the innings unravelling in double-quick time.

Sri Lanka were eventually dismissed for 240, giving England a first-innings lead of 96, which they extended to 99 by stumps with Rory Burns and Jennings remaining unbeaten.

Rashid bowled beautifully to pick up his second five-wicket haul in Tests, but the leg-spinner was quick to highlight the role played by Jennings, who picked up where he left off after a similarly impressively fielding display in the second Test at Pallekele.

“As a spinner it’s nice having him there – we’re happy!” said Rashid. "He’s made a big difference and he’s proved he’s an exceptional short-leg fielder. He reads the game well, he’s alert, he practices hard in the morning and he gets his rewards.”

Keaton Jennings shows off his reflexes to catch Roshen Silva
Keaton Jennings shows off his reflexes to catch Roshen Silva

Dhananjaya de Silva (73), who shared a stand of 142 with Dimuth Karunaratne (83) before falling victim to the Rashid-Jennings combo, was in awe at what he had seen.

“Jennings moves around all the time, stops all the singles and takes all the catches," said Sri Lanka's No.3. "He was the man who turned the game around."

Rashid formed a lethal partnership with Stokes, bamboozling Sri Lanka's batsmen with very different approaches, and he explained the game-plan at stumps.

“It worked out perfectly, Stokesy at one end bowling nice and aggressive and me at the other end mixing it up, bowling my variations. It all happened very quickly. 

“It was a simple plan for me: to be attacking, bowl my variations, try and get the ball spinning both ways, get the batsmen playing certain shots. Stokesy had his own plan: be aggressive, run in, rough them up.

Ben Stokes bowled a tireless spell
Ben Stokes bowled a tireless spell

“We all know what Ben brings to the table, he’s a match-winner, a world-class performer. He came out there with a certain game-plan and just gave it his all. At the other end I was just trying to mix it up and I got my rewards as well.

“We always have that belief going into that session. They played exceptionally well before but we had a positive mindset and knew if we stick to our plan things would change.”

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