The hosts had the better of the second day as Roshen Silva and Dimuth Karunaratne formed the spine of a solid 336 all out that left England 46 runs behind.
Joe Root’s spin trio of Leach, Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid bowled some 76 overs between them but struggled for line and length at times as the tourists endured several long barren spells where wickets were hard to come by, something Leach blames on impatience.
“I thought I could have put a few more balls in the right areas. On these wickets you have to be extra patient, always asking questions of the batter,” said Leach.
“I feel I could have done that a little better. Something I have to take away and learn from.
“I liked seeing it spin but sometimes you bowl a lot of balls that miss the outside edge. That craft, I feel at times is 'how can i take spin off?’, maybe get one to slide or just grip a little bit.
“Those balls look great but they're not creating a chance.”
England started the day with plenty of those deliveries that fizzed past the bat but after dismissing the nightwatchman, Malinda Pushpakumara, laboured for an hour-and-a-half without a wicket until Ben Stokes ran out the impressive Kunaratne.
There was then a late-order rally lead by Silva that frustrated England, but Leach and his fellow twirlers remain confident that the match is there to be won bowling fourth on a deteriorating pitch and with a little extra experience of the conditions.
“Last night with a hard ball it felt like maybe it was doing things a little bit quicker, one would skid and one would spin quite aggressively so I think as the ball got older it slowed down off the pitch and maybe made batting a little bit easier but it’s consistently spinning. You can definitely still score more runs on it but it’s a case of being a bit more patient with the ball.
“We’re very much feeling good about the fact that we’re bowling last on that wicket and we feel if we can pressure on them tomorrow with our batting then we feel that we can win the game."
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