Southampton, England, June 17: England paceman Chris Tremlett completed his second five-wicket haul to leave Sri Lanka reeling on 177-9 before rain stopped play an hour before tea on day two of the third test at the Rose Bowl on Friday.
Resuming at 81-4 after the first session was completely wiped out because of rain, the tourists couldn't deal with the pace and venom of Tremlett, who claimed the wickets of Thilan Samaraweera (31), Thisara Perera (2), Rangara Herath (12) and Suranga Lakmal (0) to secure test-best figures of 6-42.
Prasanna Jayawardene topscored with 43 but holed out to Eoin Morgan off the second ball of Graeme Swann's first spell, leaving Dilhara Fernando (33) and Chanaka Welegedara (7) in the middle when the rain came down. Tea, scheduled for 4:10 p.m. (1510 GMT) was likely to be taken early.
Sri Lanka needs a victory to level the series at 1-1.
Showers were expected all afternoon, with the teams playing under dark, threatening skies and overcast conditions which helped generate movement and bounce of the seam, for Tremlett in particular. Rain was forecast for the rest of the day in Southampton.
Tremlett's only other five-for in tests came in the recent Ashes series in Australia, where he grabbed 5-87 off 24 overs in Perth.
On that occasion, he had only just forced himself back into the England team after a 3½-year absence but, just six months later, he is a regular fixture in England's bowling unit.
Playing on the ground where he started out in county cricket for Hampshire before a move to Surrey, Tremlett was by far the most menacing of England's three pace bowlers and soon built on the two wickets he'd taken on Thursday.
While James Anderson and Stuart Broad failed to seriously trouble Sri Lanka's creaking batting lineup, Tremlett produced a series of venomous deliveries to rough up Samaraweera and Jayawardene, who had to wait more than two hours on day two before finally coming out into the middle.
Tremlett's second ball of the day lifted off the seam and smashed into Samaraweera's bottom hand, forcing the physios out to attend to the No. 5. Clearly shaken, Samaraweera nicked an outswinging delivery to Kevin Pietersen at gully four balls later.
Tremlett made further inroads on the last ball of his second over, new batsmen Perera edging to wicketkeeper Matt Prior as he attempted to hook a short ball. Three balls earlier, Perera, who never looked comfortable in his six-ball knock, had connected with the same shot but Jonathan Trott reacted slowly at fine leg and failed to take the catch on the dive.
Tremlett completed the five-for eight balls later when Herath top-edged to Anderson as he tried to pull off an awkward length. The Surrey paceman had taken his three wickets in the space of 20 balls over 25 minutes.
Prasanna Jayawardene made hay while Tremlett was given a well-earned breather as the floodlights came on under permanently dark skies.
Although he survived an umpire review when England appealed an lbw off the bowling of Anderson, Jayawardene struck five boundaries before he succumbed to Swann in the spinner's first over of the innings. AP