Moeen Ali struck two significant blows for England as the second Test with Sri Lanka in Kandy looked to be heading for a close finish before rain intervened on the fourth day.

The Worcestershire all-rounder picked up the key wickets of Roshen Silva and Angelo Matthews as the home side chased a 301 target.

It helped tilt the balance back into England’s favour and, when the heavens opened, Sri Lanka had reached 226-7.

Moeen’s first breakthrough came after Silva and Matthews had added 73 for the fifth wicket to take Sri Lanka to 176-4.

Silva (37) was given not out after England thought he had nicked Moeen through to skipper Joe Root at slip.

But the decision was over-turned on review after replays showed Silva had feathered the ball.

Matthews again played well after his two half centuries in the first Test and had moved onto 88 when he fell victim to Moeen.

He was given out lbw and, although opting to review the decision, it was shown that the ball would have clipped leg stump.

Moeen had figures of 15-0-65-2 when rain brought a halt to proceedings with fellow spinners Jack Leach (4-73) and Adil Rashid (1-52) the other wicket-takers.