Galle: England off-spinner Dom Bess took a career-best 5-30 as injury-hit Sri Lanka was bowled out for 135 inside the first two sessions of the first Test.
Stand-in captain Dinesh Chandimal, who won the toss and opted to bat Thursday, top-scored with 28 after regular skipper Dimuth Karunaratne was ruled out with a fractured thumb.
Stuart Broad (3-20) picked up two early wickets in one over before Bess found some unexpected assistance from the Galle International Stadium wicket to dismiss the home team just before tea.
Bess, playing in Asia for the first time, took his first wicket with his second delivery when Kusal Perera went for an ambitious reverse sweep and gloved a simple catch to skipper Joe Root at first slip.
Lahiru Thirimanne (4), replacing Karunaratne as an opener, was outsmarted by some intelligent field placing by Root early on.
Broad, bowling around the wicket, had the left-hander Thirimanne caught at leg slip in his fourth over. One ball later, Kusal Mendis fell for his fourth successive score of zero in test matches as he got a faint edge off Broad’s brilliant leg-cutter.
Senior pros — Chandimal and Angelo Mathews — shared a 56-run fourth-wicket stand before both departed in successive overs after lunch.
Mathews scored 27 and reached a milestone when he became only the fifth Sri Lankan batsman to pass 6,000 test runs, joining Kumar Sangakkara (12,400), Mahela Jayawardene (11,814), Sanath Jayasuriya (6,973), Aravinda de Silva (6,361).
But the former skipper was outdone by Broad after the break when he went for a lose shot and Root took a sharp, chest high catch at slip.
In the next over, Chandimal, who completed 4,000 runs in test matches, offered a tame catch in the covers off Jack Leach before Bess ran through the tail quickly.
Sri Lanka packed its playing XI with three spinners — Wanindu Hasaranga, Dilruwan Perera and Lasith Embuldeniya — with Asitha Fernando as the sole specialist fast bowler.
England gave a Test cap to Essex’s 23-year-old batsman Dan Lawrence, who dropped an easy catch of Chandimal in the covers just before lunch. The visitors opted to rest James Anderson and picked Sam Curran and Mark Wood to partner Broad upfront with the new ball.
England players wore black armbands in memory of former England Test cricketers — John Edrich, Robin Jackman and Dom Smith — who passed away recently.