GALLE: Keaton Jennings was two runs short of a patient century on Thursday as he and a no-nonsense Ben Stokes gave England a mammoth 351-run lead against Sri Lanka in Galle.
At tea on day three in the first Test, the visitors were on 212 for four in their second innings, with opener Jennings unbeaten on 98 and Jos Buttler not out on 14.
Having been 38-0 overnight, a somewhat shaky Rory Burns, brought in to fill the huge shoes of the retired Alastair Cook, was run out in the morning session for 23.
Moeen Ali, out first ball in the first innings, fared little better, driving straight to Rangana Herath at mid-on off Dilruwan Perera for three.
Rangana Herath, in his last game before retiring, then got England captain Joe Root out for the second time in the match, caught behind for three.
But Jennings looked comfortable against spin on a wearing pitch that promises Sri Lanka a Herculean task on day four.
Stokes's 62 off 93 balls saw three sixes, including one back over Perera's head and an almighty sweep high over midwicket off Dhananjaya de Silva to bring up the 300.
But shortly before tea he became Perera's second scalp, a demon of a ball pitching outside leg and angling back to take the Durham all-rounder's off stump.
England made 342 in the first innings thanks to a century from Burns's fellow debutant Ben Foakes, filling in as wicketkeeper for the injured Jonny Bairstow.
Sri Lanka were then bowled out on Tuesday for 203, leaving them 139 behind, falling to a spin attack led by Ali who took four for 66.