COLOMBO:Sri Lanka's unbroken ninth-wicket pair of Prasanna Jayawardene and Dilhara Fernando put on 81 runs to keep England at bay in the second cricket Test on Wednesday.
Sri Lanka, replying to England's 351, recovered from 450-8 soon after lunch to post 531-8 by tea on the fourth day at the Sinhalese Sports Club.
The hosts, who won the first Test in Kandy last week to take the lead in the three-match series, are 180 runs ahead with two wickets in hand and four sessions remaining in the match to put England under pressure.
Jayawardene, the team's wicket keeper, was unbeaten at the break on a pugnacious 70 with the help of five boundaries. Fast bowler Fernando was on 28.
The duo frustrated England's hope of dismissing Sri Lanka quickly after the tourists fought back in the morning session with quick wickets.
England, who struggled to take two wickets during the entire third day's play, grabbed three in the space of 26 runs on Wednesday.
Mahela Jayawardene fell for 195, agonisingly close to his fourth double hundred in 20 three-figure knocks. He hit 16 boundaries and a six.
Sri Lanka added 20 runs to their overnight total of 379-4 when Jehan Mubarak fended at a short ball from Steve Harmison and gave Ian Bell an easy catch at gully.
Mubarak, under pressure to hold his place in the Test side, made nine.
Mahela Jayawardene, who came in to bat on Monday afternoon with Sri Lanka struggling on 22-2, was sixth out at the total of 420 after he top-edged a sweep off Monty Panesar to Paul Collingwood at first slip.
The skipper is Sri Lanka's highest run-getter with 7,058 runs from 92 Tests after racing past the retired Sanath Jayasuriya's previous record of 6,973 runs on Tuesday.
Paceman Stuart Broad picked up his first Test wicket when he bounced Chaminda Vaas, but the left-hander's attempted hook shot deflected to Bell in the slips.
Panesar picked up Lasith Malinga after lunch before Prasanna Jayawardene and Fernando increased the home team's lead.