Fine half-centuries from Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara have placed the second Test match in balance as Sri Lanka built a 106 runs lead over England on third day of the Headingley Test on Sunday.
Jayawardene and Sangakkara (55) stitched a 73-run partnership for the third wicket, after pacer Liam Plunkett sent both Lankan openers Dimuth Karunaratne (45) and Kaushal Silva (13) back to the pavilion.
The visitors lost two quick wickets towards the end of the day, when Moeen Ali scalped Sangakkara and Lahiru Thirimanne (0). However, Jayawardene (55 not out) held one end firmly with skipper Angelo Mathews (24 not out) to help Lanka finish the day on 214 for four.
"The next two wickets are very important for us to get a comfortable lead, of about 225 runs," Lanka's fielding coach Ruwan Kalpage said. "Anything more than that is a plus for us. We have two great batsmen in the middle and Dinesh Chandimal to follow. In the last three days the game was pretty open, and the next two days will be very interesting."
England's Ali, who finally made his mark with the ball by taking two crucial wickets, said he felt confident while bowling and looking forward to contributing in the team's performance.
"It was nice to contribute to the side, to get us back into the game," Ali said. "Sri Lanka were playing really well at the time. I am ready to bowl whenever the captain says. I didn't feel that I was bowling too badly. I was going to come on earlier but we got a wicket so we stuck with the seamers."
Earlier, the hosts resumed the day on 320 for six with Matt Prior and Chris Jordan on the crease and only managed to add 45 runs to their overnight total.
Mathews and Shaminda Eranga picked the remaining four wickets to cut short England's advantage. Prior remained unbeaten on 27, while Jordan (17), Stuart Broad (4), Plunkett (2) and James Anderson (0) fell on quick successions.
Captain Mathews was the wrecker-in-chief (44 for four), while Eranga also finished with four wickets. Dhammika Prasad and Nuwan Pradeep chipped-in with one wicket each, while left-arm spinner Rangana Herath went wicket-less.
"If you're a medium pace bowler, if you're not bowling in these conditions, you can't expect to bowl anywhere in the world," Kalpage said. "I think the pitch helped him (Mathews). He bowled really well - a good line and length - so he got the results."
"It's a bowler friendly pitch compared to Lord's," he added. "Whenever a new bowler starts a spell, there is a chance. It's a difficult pitch to score on."
Meanwhile, England assistant coach Paul Farbrace said the match is in balance right now and they are planning on get early wickets on the fourth day.
"It is pretty even-steven at the moment," Farbrace said. "The plan is to get the ball fuller and early on it might have been a fraction short. The bowlers know their game, they are experienced and if they have missed their length by a fraction, occasionally that happens."
Where to Watch Live
The 2nd Test Day 4 is scheduled for an 11 am BST (3.30 pm IST, 6 am ET) with live coverage on Star Sports 2 and Star Sports HD2 in India. The match can also be watched via live streaming 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.