LEEDS, England: Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene both made half centuries on Sunday as Sri Lanka built a delicate lead of 106 runs over England after finishing day three of the second test on 214-4.
Jayawardene was unbeaten on 55, with Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews on 24, in a 38-run partnership so far that could determine the match, considering Sri Lanka's vulnerable tail.
Sangakkara hit his seventh consecutive half century, making him the fourth player in test history to achieve that feat after Everton Weekes for West Indies, Andy Flower for Zimbabwe and Shivnarine Chanderpaul for West Indies.
Sangakkara was dismissed lbw by Moeen Ali, who then bowled Lahiru Thirimanne for 0 in his next over at Headingley.
Thirimanne's dismissal capped a miserable series with the bat for the Sri Lanka vice captain. In the second test, he has failed to get off the mark, facing a total of three balls after a golden duck in the first innings. In the first test, he made a total of four runs in two innings.
Liam Plunkett removed openers Dimuth Karunaratne (45) and Kaushal Silva (13) in the second session, both edging behind to Matt Prior.
Karunaratne was dropped by Chris Jordan at second slip on four off the bowling of James Anderson before lunch. The ball came to Jordan at chest height but he could not secure the ball.
England began the day on 320-6 and were bowled out for 365. They added 18 before Shaminda Eranga took the first wicket of the day, with Jordan (17) edging to Jayawardene.
Mathews followed up in the next over with a wicket when Stuart Broad (4) edged to Thirimanne at gully.
Mathews then flattened Plunkett's middle stump for his fourth wicket with an inswinging delivery that pitched outside off stump. Plunkett made two and Anderson went without scoring after fending Eranga's bouncer back to him.
Sri Lanka captain Mathews finished with test-best bowling figures of 4-44.
England assistant coach Paul Farbrace conceded that Sri Lanka arguably enjoyed a better day than the hosts.
"We've played good cricket but they've probably edged today," Farbrace said. "If we use the new ball well tomorrow, pitch it in the right areas, then we are in a great position to win the game."
The first test was drawn.