England gave themselves a chance to win their Test series against Sri Lanka with a match to spare after losing skipper Andrew Strauss for a duck at Lord's on Monday.
The hosts, at stumps on the fourth day of the second Test, were 149 for two in their second innings -- a lead of 156 -- with Alastair Cook 61 not out.
Cook, under skies brightened by the Lord's floodlights, helped England recover from none for one after Strauss's exit and together with Jonathan Trott (58) put on 117 for the second wicket.
Kevin Pietersen, despite coming in when Rangana Herath was on -- left-arm spinners, including Herath, have removed him 19 times in Tests -- was unbeaten on 15.
England had dismissed Sri Lanka for just 82 inside 25 overs to force an improbable innings and 14-run win in the similarly rain-interrupted first Test in Cardiff.
But here they still have 98 overs left on Tuesday's final day in which to achieve a win that would put them 2-0 up in this three-match series.
And the time remaining means a Sri Lanka victory can't be ruled out completely either.
Fast bowler Steven Finn, whose return of four for 108 saw the 22-year-old, in his 12th match at this level, surpass Ian Botham as the youngest England bowler to take 50 Test wickets, was cautious about his side's prospects.
"We can't expect to bowl teams out for 80, or roll them over like we did (Australia) in Melbourne," Finn told BBC Radio's Test Match Special.
"We can't do that all the time," added Finn, recalled in place of injured Ashes spearhead James Anderson.
"We know we've been quality the last 18 months and the crop of bowlers we have means we're hard work for any team out there."
Finn, contemplating the last day, added: "We're in a great position to push on, but I don't think we'll be looking beyond the first hour.
"We'll take things drinks break by drinks break and hour by hour and see where we stand."
Sri Lanka, after rain washed out Monday's morning session, made 479 in reply to England's first innings 486 -- a deficit of just seven runs.
Strauss was then plumb lbw second ball to left-arm paceman Chanaka Welegedara, the skipper wasting a review before his dismissal was confirmed.
The in-form Trott, sometimes criticised for slow-scoring, prospered against an under-powered Sri Lanka seam attack to score a 66-ball fifty, completed when he punched Dilhara Fernando through the covers for his eighth four.
Former skipper Kumar Sangakkara, captaining the side as Tillakaratne Dilshan was off the field following the finger injury he'd suffered making a Sri Lankan Lord's Test-best 193 on Sunday, then opted for spin.
And it took Herath just four balls to bowl Trott, playing over the top of a dipping delivery.
Trott's exit meant Pietersen had to face Herath immediately but he played out the over with two forward defensive shots.
Cook then drove Fernando through the covers for a sixth four to go to an 86-ball fifty.
An even bigger roar came after Pietersen, advancing confidently down the pitch, drove Herath straight back over the bowler's head for the first four of his innings.
Earlier, Sri Lanka lost two wickets -- Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera -- for no runs in three balls to be 409 for six.
But wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene (no relation), who made 112 in the first innings in Cardiff, hit back with a stylish 40 featuring a six and five fours and put on 57 with Herath in a lively seventh-wicket stand.
England's pace attack, wayward on Sunday in Anderson's absence, showed signs of improvement Monday.
But a huge total of 58 extras, including 23 byes, most of which could not be blamed on wicketkeeper Matt Prior, was evidence of a lack of accuracy.
Graeme Swann's off-spin polished off Sri Lanka's tail with three for eight in 16 balls.