Sri Lanka survive three nervous hours to draw the second Test against England, after chasing 343 from 58 overs to win.
| James Anderson proved his fitness returning to the Test fray with two wickets [GALLO/GETTY]
Sri Lanka were reduced to 81 for four against England on a rain-marred first day of the third Test at the Rose Bowl on Thursday.
Only 38 overs out of a scheduled 90 were possible on the opening day of what was the first Test ever staged at the home of southern county Hampshire.
But that was enough time for England, 1-0 up in this series, to rip through a top order lacking Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan, out with a broken thumb suffered while making 193 in the drawn second Test at Lord’s.
By contrast stand-in skipper Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, the tourists’ two most experienced batsmen, managed just six runs between them.
James Anderson marked his comeback to England duty by taking two wickets, while the 6ft 7in Chris Tremlett, who troubled Sri Lanka with his pace and bounce, also struck twice on the ground where he made his name.
Anderson ended the day with a return of two for 24 runs in 16 overs while Tremlett, who until his move to Surrey last season played for Hampshire, had two for 17 in just 11.
Sri Lanka were in dire straits at 39 for four, with Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene both back in the pavilion.
|Prolific Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara could only manage two runs before being caught by Prior [GALLO/GETTY]|
But Thilan Samaraweera (24 not out) and Prasanna Jayawardene (10 not out) prevented further collapse with an unbroken stand of 42.
Anderson, who missed Lord’s with a side injury, was recalled in place of Steven Finn as England looked to build on a series lead secured by an innings and 14-run victory in the first Test in Cardiff.
England, after captain Andrew Strauss won the toss and fielded, saw Anderson strike in the 13th over.
Test debutant Lahiru Thirimanne, in for Dilshan, edged to Strauss at first slip and fell for 10.
Sri Lanka spent more than an hour on 23 for one because of a rain break. But five balls after the resumption, that became 23 for two when opener Tharanga Paranavitana was lbw on the back foot to a full length swinging delivery from Tremlett.
Sangakkara, the third left-hander in Sri Lanka’s top three, is one of the world’s leading batsmen, with an impressive Test average of more than 56 coming into this match.
Yet the gifted strokemaker, who resigned the captaincy after Sri Lanka’s World Cup final defeat by India in Mumbai in April, has often struggled in England.
And he only made two before, trying to drive an Anderson delivery that cut away off the pitch, he was caught behind by Matt Prior. It took Sangakkara’s tally for the series to a meagre 65 runs at an average of 13.
Another lengthy rain break followed before, in late evening sunshine, Tremlett produced a lifting delivery that Mahela Jayawardene could only edge to wicketkeeper Prior to leave Sri Lanka 39 for four.
But Samaraweera gave Sri Lanka something to cheer with a stylish cover-driven four off Anderson.