James Anderson made crucial inroads upfront before Lahiru Thirimanne (43*) and Angelo Mathews (26*) propped up the innings with an unbeaten alliance of 69 to help Sri Lanka finish the opening session of the second Test against Englan at 76/2.
The hosts, who elected to bat, made a poor start. Kusal Perera, who survived a close LBW shout off Sam Curran, chased an away-swinger from Anderson and was caught by Joe Root in the slip cordon. Oshada Fernando then inside-edged an outswinger in the same over onto the stumps. Both batsmen paid the price for displaying poor footwork.
Anderson, who began the day with a couple of maiden overs, ended his first spell with figures of 5-2-4-2. However, with Sri Lanka in early trouble, Mathews and Thirimanne joined forces to steady the innings. Mathews cracked the loft and whipped Jack Leach to collect boundaries while Thirimanne essayed the occasional drive and slog-sweep to keep the scorecard ticking over. The pair also rotated the strike by pinching singles and twos.
To keep the pressure on the opposition, Root introduced Dom Bess into the attack but the off-spinner couldn’t make much of an impact.
With the track expected to offer appreciable assistance to spinners, Sri Lanka would hope to get a good score in the first innings.
Brief scores: Sri Lanka 76/2 (Lahiru Thirimanne 43*; James Anderson 2-4) v England.