Sri Lankan star batsmen Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jaywardene held firm against England on Saturday’s third day of the first Test at Lord’s.
The tourists were 2-212 at lunch after losing just one wicket in the morning session.
Sangakkara, yet to score a Test hundred at ‘the home of cricket’, was 73 not out and Jayawardene, whose three previous Lord’s Tests had yielded two centuries, unbeaten on 29.
Their third-wicket stand is worth 61.
However, Sri Lanka were still 363 runs behind and requiring a further 164 to avoid the follow-on after Joe Root’s maiden Test double century had taken England to 9(dec)-575.
But, Sri Lanka had fought back well to be 1-140 at stumps on day two.
Kaushal Silva was then 62 not out and Sangakkara unbeaten on 32.
Play resumed on Saturday in gloomy overcast conditions that led to the floodlights being switched on.
But it was pace and bounce, rather than swing, that did Silva.
The gutsy opener had added just one to his overnight score when, trying to sway out of the way of a James Anderson bouncer, he didn’t lower his bat, with the ball grazing the face on its way through to wicketkeeper Matt Prior.
Silva, with Sangakkara, had put on 97 for the second wicket to take Sri Lanka to 2-151.
His exit brought in Jayawardene to partner Sangakkara in what was set to be the duo’s last Test at Lord’s.
Jayawardene showed his touch by deliberately uppercutting fast bowler Liam Plunkett over the slips for four – a shot made all the safer by England following the modern trend of doing without a third man.
Sangakkara went to 50 off 102 balls, including six fours.
Anderson, after a miserly opening spell of 1-12 in seven overs, was replaced by allrounder Chris Jordan.
But with the seamers unable to separate the Sri Lankan stars, England captain Alastair Cook brought on offspinner Moeen Ali – the third debutant in the home side along with Australian-born opener Sam Robson and Barbados-born Jordan.
Jayawardene lofted Ali’s fifth ball for four and later swept the bowler, primarily a batsman, for another boundary.