England began their chase of Sri Lanka’s first-innings total of 275 by reaching 11 for no loss at lunch on the second day of the second Test in Colombo on Wednesday.
Andrew Strauss was unbeaten on four and Alastair Cook was on seven, the opening pair having safely negotiated two overs each from the new-ball pair of Suranga Lakmal and Dhammika Prasad.
England, whose 75-run defeat in the first Test in Galle followed a 3-0 rout by Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates earlier in the year, need a win to level the series and retain their number one Test ranking.
Strauss’ men will slip to second spot behind South Africa otherwise.
Sri Lanka added 37 runs to their overnight score of 238-6 before they were all out 30 minutes before lunch.
Off-spinner Graeme Swann claimed three of the last four wickets to finish with 3-75 from 28.1 overs. Seamer James Anderson ended with the three wickets he took on the opening day.
Suraj Randiv helped his overnight partner Angelo Mathews add 31 for the seventh wicket before he holed out to Kevin Pietersen at long-on attempting a big shot off Swann.
Swann struck again in his next over when he beat Mathews in the air and had him caught at short mid-wicket. Mathews scored 57 in a four-hour vigil at the crease.
Tim Bresnan had Rangana Herath edging a catch to wicket-keeper Matt Prior, before Swann terminated the innings by bowling last man Lakmal. (AFP)