Joe Root scored his second century at Lord's to help England reach 344 for five against Sri Lanka at stumps on Day 1 of the first Test match on Thursday.
Root (102 not out) anchored the English innings and stitched an unbeaten 135 runs partnership with returning Matt Prior. Moeen Ali (48) was also impressive on debut and made an 89-run stand for the fifth wicket with Root.
Ali missed out on a half-century in his first match, but Root praised the southpaw and said he played "some elegant strokes in a difficult situation and making it look so easy at times", which released pressure from him.
Earlier in the day, Sri Lankan bowlers utilised the new ball well and sent Sam Robson (1) and skipper Alastair Cook (17) back in the pavilion within seven overs. Nuwan Pradeep spoiled Robson's debut, while Nuwan Kulasekara castled Cook.
Garry Ballance (23) along with Ian Bell (56) recovered England by making a 52 runs stand for the third wicket. Ballance was caught behind on the bowling of Pradeep, while Rangana Hearth scalped Bell, on a pitch that had nothing for the spinners on the first day.
"The position I came in (74 for three) was quite a tricky one and it's obviously very pleasing to go on and get us in a decent position by the end of play," Root said. "At times Sri Lanka bowled very well at us and made it difficult to score. But now we're in a pretty good position."
Prior made a fine comeback in the team and scored his runs at a decent pace to help England cross the 300-run mark in the final session. Root confirmed that there were few nerves when the wicketkeeper-batsman walked on the crease, but the 32-year-old showed a lot of character en route to an unbeaten fifty.
"There were obviously a few nerves kicking about there," Root confirmed. "Not just from him but from me as well. But again he showed great character to play the way he did at the end there. After a difficult winter the way he came back into the side and played is testament to his character and his ability."
Prior, making a comeback from Achilles injury, looked fit, and snatched some sharp singles towards the end of the day. Both Matt and Root ran well between the wickets and released whatever pressure was created the Islanders.
"Me and Matt just knew if we ran well and kept playing the way we were, then as a team we'd be in a good position by the close," the 23-year-old said. "Fortunately that means I've got a hundred as well.
"Matty as well to come in after a tough winter and play the way he did was testament to his character as well," he added. "He's a fine player, we've seen that over the years, and it meant a lot to him as well."
Where to Watch Live:
The first Test is scheduled for an 11 am BST (3.30 pm IST, 6 am ET) start with live coverage on Star Sports 2 and Star Sports HD2 in India. The match can also be watched via live streaming online in India HERE. Catch the action live on TV on Sky Sports 2 in the UK, while viewers can also live stream the action HERE. Viewers in the US can watch the game on ESPN 3 while the action can also be live streamed HERE. Watch the match in Sri Lanka on CSN with the live streaming option HERE, while South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa viewers can view the match on SuperSport and live online HERE.