LONDON - Kumar Sangakkara's first Test hundred at Lord's helped a lot but England remained in control of their series opener with Sri Lanka yesterday.
The tourists were 7-415 at stumps on the third day, with left-hander Sangakkara's 147 key to their avoiding the follow-on.
The 36-year-old also became the first man to score hundreds in three consecutive innings on three separate occasions in Test cricket.
England, however, still led by 160 runs after Joe Root's maiden Test double century had taken them to a total of 9-575 declared.
Sangakkara was involved in partnerships of 97, 126 and 96 with Kaushal Silva (62), Mahela Jayawardene (55) and Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews (79 not out) respectively.
He was all assurance until caught behind off Moeen Ali to give the debutant off-spinner his first Test wicket.
England captain Alastair Cook, often accused of lacking imagination, tried to unsettle the batsmen with unusual field placings and angles of attack.
But his bowlers were largely frustrated by Sangakkara, whose career batting average of 58.53 has only been bettered by players who've appeared in at least 25 Tests by Australia's Don Bradman (99.94) and the England duo of Herbert Sutcliffe (60.73) and Ken Barrington (58.67).