Sri Lanka, driven by a century from Lahiru Thirimanne, fought hard in their second innings and had England in trouble with just 74 runs needed victory.
Sri Lanka came into the day on 156-2 and exited it 74 runs ahead, which, after their nightmare first innings, constituted a strong fight back. Add to that the fact they had England in trouble at 15-3 at one stage, and you have to compliment their resilience.
Ultimately Sri Lanka’s first innings collapse will cost them the match – England needed just 36 to win with seven wickets in hand at stumps – but their second innings fightback will give them heart.
Thirimanne’s 111 anchored that fight back, the opener facing 251 deliveries and shared a 58-run partnership with Angelo Matthews, who showed bags of heart and skill to score 71.
It was hard toil for England’s bowlers on a tameish wicket. Spinners Jack Leach and Dom Bess have taken three wickets apiece, but it would be remiss not to note Stuart Broad’s immense shift, which saw him bowl multiple spells in sweltering heat and stifling humidity and finish with figures of 17 overs, 11 maidens, 14 runs at an economy rate of 0.82.
After Thirimanne’s dismissal, Matthews found a determined partner in Dilruwan Perera, who scored 24 valuable runs down the order.
England lost Zak Crawley, Dom Sibley and Joe Root in quick succession, but Jonny Bairstow and Dan Lawrence steadied things before bad light stopped play.