At the start of day Three of the first test England had the aim of batting Sri Lanka out the match, leading by 185 with Joe Root looking at his best on 168* another day at the crease would have no one complaining.
The first few overs of the day showed a the both the battle Root and Jos Buttler faced as well as the skill and temperament of the batsmen. Root drove to the boundary in the first over of the morning, achieving 8,000 test match runs, a feat only equalled and better by six countrymen.
Spin was finally on full show in the morning session, Embuldeniya and Dilruwan Perera finding both exaggerated spin and bounce, troubling both batsmen into edges and near misses.
The day was barley only six overs old when ground staff started to lurk on the boundry with the pitch covers, Buttler started to get moving consecutive boundaries took England to 350 and the partnership to its half-century stand.
England set the precedence in the opening 10 overs of the day, runs coming in the opeing stage of play, Buttler had worked out the pitch and looked to play his release shot of the reverse sweep, whilst Root hit the opening maximum of the day, coming down the track to Perera to push himself to 196.
Fernando took the mornings first wicket, drawing Buttler into a drive, and with slight late movement finding the edge to send the keeper-batsman on his way for 30. In what would seem similar to the 2019 ashes, it was the first delivery with a new ball, as the umpires deemed the old ball, only 24 overs old, was not to standard.
Two in two for Fernando, Sam Curran came and went castled first ball, full length with Curran being deceived by the late movement that saw the end of the man before. Fernando’s 2-27 looked excellent considering he had only bowled 12 overs. Dom Bess saw out the hattrick ball with a exaggerated defensive shot.
Joe Root, with a hard sweep shot to the boundary took his score to 200, the slog sweep prominent in his innings, so confident in the shot, he played the exact same shot the next ball, also fining the boundary.
Dom Bess sacrificed his wicket moment later without troubling the scorers, a mix up with Root saw the new batsman run out for naught as the captain who was on 205 gloved the ball, the wicket keeper unsurprisingly appealed like his life depended on it, with Bess unsure about the LBW appeal not being able to get to the other end of the pitch.
A mini collapse for England, loosing three wickets for 10 runs in 11 deliveries.
Sri Lanka burned their last review, appealing for a nick off Jack Leach, snicko showing a flat line. Dickwella seriously needs a look at, for at least ADHD medicine, an seemingly giving an overacted appeal every time the ball was not hit for a run.
A few balls later, Leach was given out, this time LBW off Perera, trapped very deep in his crease, the ball hitting top of middle stump. Gone for 4, with England 398-8, leading by 263.
Sri Lanka had a good morning, Mark Wood was next to depart, toe end of the bat, floating the ball into the air, a simple catch for keeper Dickwella. Perera picking up his third victim of the innings.
The innings was almost over when number 11 Stuart Broad was given out LBW when he completely missed his attempted sweep, instead smashing the ground with his bat, but the ball was seen to be hitting 4th stump.
Two balls later it was groundhog day, Broad given out LBW missing a sweep, but with the ball hit outside line and would have been hitting more of 6th stump.
An outstanding Joe Root innings was put to an end as on 226, the captain tried to take on the four men on the legside boundary, charging down the wicket to Perera, finding Embuldeniya at cow corner.
England all out for 421, leading Sri Lanka by 286 as lunch was called after the loss of the final wicket.