A JACK Leach-inspired England were held up on their push towards victory in the second Test against Sri Lanka, as the rain brought an early end to proceedings on day four in Pallekele.

The hosts were set 301 to win, only to find themselves 26-3 as Leach tore through their top order, removing Kaushal Silva (4), Dhananjaya de Silva (1) and Kusal Mendis (1).

The first saw him draw the batsman down the pitch, allowing wicketkeeper Ben Foakes to stump him, his second owed much to a stunning Keaton Jennings catch, and the third an lbw which England correctly asked to be reviewed.

But Sri Lanka fought back to reach 221-5, largely thanks to the efforts of Dimuth Karunaratne (57) and Angelo Mathews (88).

Moeen Ali then removed Roshen Silva (37) and Mathews, before Somerset spinner Leach claimed his fourth wicket by trapping Dilruwan Perera (1) lbw.

The rain came down with Sri Lanka on 226-7 and needing a further 75 for victory, so the match does remain in the balance going into the final day.

With three wickets for England to get, allowing them to win the Test and the series, Leach (4-73 off 23.2 overs) will look to play a key role once again for his country.