Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene once again led by example with an unbeaten 74 to help the hosts recover from a shaky start and reach 155 for four at tea on the first day of the second test against England on Tuesday.
Jayawardene, who scored 180 in the first innings of the opening test, and Thilan Samaraweera pulled Sri Lanka out of trouble with a fourth-wicket stand of 124 after England paceman James Anderson had claimed three early wickets.
In a chanceless display of batting, the right-handed Jayawardene hit one six and nine fours during his 153-ball knock.
Samaraweera, hit on the head by paceman Steven Finn when he ducked into a bouncer, was dismissed ten minutes before the break for a well compiled 54 with five fours.
He was trapped lbw by Tim Bresnan, with the ball skidding through to beat his forward defence.
After winning the toss for the second time in the series, Sri Lanka opted to bat on a pitch which offered early assistance to the new ball bowlers.
Sri Lanka had progressed to 21 without loss before Anderson made the initial breakthrough.
Tillakaratne Dilshan (14) had hit the bowler for two consecutive fours but Anderson got his revenge when he forced the batsman to edge a catch to wicket-keeper Matt Prior.
Kumar Sangakkara had his second successive first ball duck of the series when Anderson had him edging to Andrew Strauss at first slip. The England skipper juggled the ball but managed to hold on to it.
Anderson also accounted for Lahiru Thirimanne, who offered his pad to a delivery that pitched outside the off stump but swung back in to hit the batsman's leg in front.
Thirimanne (8) used an unsuccessful review in an attempt to get the decision overturned.
Anderson's morning spell yielded him three wickets for 29 runs off seven overs.
England, trailing 1-0 in the two-match series, bowled a tight line and length and occasionally beat the bat, but the fourth-wicket pair thwarted them through almost the entire afternoon session.