Kumar Sangakkara celebrates as he brings up his
100 [AFP]
Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara scored a superb 152 as his side set England an improbable 350-run victory target on the fourth day of the first test.

Sangakkara, who became the first person to score 150 or more in four successive tests, powered Sri Lanka to 442-8 declared in their second innings.

England's bid to save the game then started poorly when Alastair Cook (four) was dismissed in the opening over of the innings, caught at first slip as he edged an outswinger from Chaminda Vaas.

The tourists closed on nine for one, with skipper Michael Vaughan on one and night-watchman James Anderson on four.

Sangakkara, following his first innings 92, dominated with a display that spanned 269 deliveries and included 19 boundaries.

The 30-year-old shared a 122-run partnership with skipper Mahela Jayawardene, who scored a stylish 65 that included nine boundaries.

"I'm pretty happy with my innings and good day for us. We've shown a lot of character," Sangakkara said.

"We wanted 350, we got that and Vaas picked up a wicket before the close so we can't complain.

"I am more aware of my game now, my preparation is much better, and mentally I'm comfortable so the runs are coming," he added.

Morning breakthrough

Sri Lanka resumed the day on 166-2 and England finally made the breakthrough just before lunch as wicketkeeper Matthew Prior took a brilliant leg-side catch off Jayawardene while standing up to seamer Matthew Hoggard.

A further 71 runs were added between Sangakkara and Chamara Silva as Sri Lanka raised the tempo during the afternoon session.

Left-arm spinner Monty Panesar trapped Silva lbw for 37 and followed up with the wicket of Jehan Mubarak (9) who was caught in the deep.

England's fielding grew more ragged as Sri Lanka piled on the runs with several misfields.

Ian Bell dropped Sangakkara on 98 at slip after missing Sanath Jayasuriya on 35 on Monday.

Part-time bowler Paul Collingwood had a tidy eight-over spell in the evening session, bowling Prasanna Jayawardene (20) and picking up Sangakkara at mid-wicket shortly before the declaration.

Panesar was England's most successful bowler, claiming three wickets for 132 from 45 overs.

Hoggard was unable to bowl in the afternoon as he received treatment on a sore lower back.

Source: Agencies