Sri Lanka came through a challenging morning to reach 207 for four at lunch on the second day of their first Test against England yesterday, losing two wickets in the session.
The tourists added 74 runs though lost key batsman Mahela Jayawardene (4) without adding to their overnight score and then in-form opener Tharanga Paranavitana departed for an impressive 66.
Thilan Samaraweera lived dangerously, but remained unbeaten on 38, while Prasanna Jayawardene, the wicketkeeper batting at six, was not out 21. James Anderson, who accounted for Mahela Jayawardene, had two for 53.
Conditions were warmer, brighter and generally much better than on Thursday when 42 overs were lost to rain.
Anderson struck in the third over of the day to end Mahela’s 48-minute struggle after the batsman edged to first-slip Andrew Strauss, who pouched a good catch.
Left-hander Paranavitana’s innings was ended by Chris Tremlett when he played on attempting a cover drive without moving his feet. He batted resolutely and faced 191 balls.
Samaraweera, averaging 54 in Tests, is seeking to improve his record in England having made 0, 6, 3 and 8 on the 2006 tour. His survival was not without difficulty after requiring 14 balls to score his first run.
When on 15 he narrowly survived an edge to third-slip Alastair Cook off Tremlett. Cook managed only to get his fingertips on the ball. Then on 23, he cut uppishly to point where Eoin Morgan may have misjudged the opportunity as the ball just bounced less than a meter in front of him.
While still on 23, Samaraweera needed treatment when towering fast bowler Tremlett extracted steep bounce from a good length ball to hit the batsman on his right elbow.
Prasanna Jayawardene edged Stuart Broad through vacant fourth-slip for a boundary and added another when Kevin Pietersen dove over an on-drive off Graeme Swann.
England are seeking to build on their recent Ashes success as they look to become the top-ranking Test nation, while Sri Lanka are seeking a first Test win in six matches.