Sri Lanka – England failed to capitalize on a 133-run opening stand on the first day of the second Test in Colombo on Sunday, closing on 258 for five wickets.
Captain Michael Vaughan and Alastair Cook looked to have batted the tourists into a dominant position as they bid to level the series after losing the opening Test in Kandy last week.
But once Vaughan departed for 87 to a fortuitous catch by Jehan Mubarak at short leg off Mutiah Muralitharan, England lost momentium.
They crawled to 167 for one wicket at tea before Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen, who departed in controversial circumstances, went in quick succession.
Pietersen twice had to be told to leave the field by Australian umpire Daryl Harper after being given out caught via a slip cordon ricochet early in the final session.
In only his second over at the crease, Pietersen edged a drive at Chaminda Vaas and watched as Chamara Silva scooped up the ball narrowly above the turf.
It squeezed out of Silva’s fingers after a juggle and was seized by the alert Kumar Sangakkara, fielding at first slip, to spark huge Sri Lankan celebrations.