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Keaton Jennings registered his first Test century in two years, helping England move into a commanding position on day three of the first Test against Sri Lanka.

“Over the last 18 months I have faced some things in my cricketing life I had to learn from. I have had to develop myself,” said Jennings after his century at Galle.

The 26-year-old scored a century on debut in Mumbai, but lost his place after averaging just 15.87 against South Africa next summer. He remained out of favour for the Ashes and was recalled to face Pakistan and India this summer, where he averaged only 19.20.

“It is just very pleasing and a big thank you to the people who have stuck with me over the last 18 months. I suppose you do have to keep believing. As a sportsman, there are times when you have to bluff yourself into thinking you are capable of doing it.

"It is very satisfying to score a hundred. To keep sane and continue to back yourself is key. I look at guys like Joe Root, Alastair Cook, guys who do it for such a long period of time. You have to bluff yourself that you're still a really good player. To come out and do it again and again is what you need as an international cricketer.

"It is like being a goldfish in a bowl at times, you are floating around with people poking you to do things and just watching you.

"At the back end of last year I woke up and was panicking over what pot of coffee to put on, that's the intensity.

"There is nothing there but it's in your mind, you create an atmosphere of tension. I have tried to find a lot of happiness outside of cricket, keep that balance emotionally."

England captain Joe Root declared late into day three, leaving Sri Lanka with seven overs to bat. Their openers faced five different bowlers and negotiated them safely, scoring 15 runs.

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