What began as England's 'Mission Impossible' in Galle, chasing a record 340 runs to win, was downgraded to a chance to rewrite history, after they finished the third day on 111-2.
After their recent batting displays against spinners on Asian pitches, England fans would be forgiven for not being filled with confidence in them scoring the remaining 229 runs, but this pitch is slow, with only predictable turn, and the No 1 Test team should be able to put together a coherent batting performance at some stage.
To get big scores here, batsmen need to soak up balls in the middle, something Jonathan Trott (40 not out) and Kevin Pietersen (29no) had done well but needed to continue doing for their team to have a decent chance of winning.
Their tactic was something Andrew Strauss appeared to be doing, too, after England lost Alastair Cook in the ninth over of their second innings, until he miscued a slog over the top off Rangana Herath to short mid-wicket.
England's day began with them needing to take Sri Lanka's five remaining wickets as quickly as possible. Monty Panesar made the breakthrough after he persuaded Dinesh Chandimal into a reckless lofted drive that ended in Pietersen's hands at mid-on.
Soon after Chanaka Welegedera's dismissal to Panesar, Stuart Broad caught and bowled Prasanna Jayawardene after the batsman had miscued a bouncer before throwing the ball absent-mindedly into the stumps as the Sri Lankan headed off to the pavilion.
England were cock-a-hoop, only to have those ideals dashed when it was suggested Broad had bowled a front-foot no-ball, a transgression ratified when suspicions were confirmed by the third umpire.
Jayawardene, who made an unbeaten 61, went on his merry way adding another 47 runs with No 11 Surinder Lakmal, a record last-wicket partnership for this ground. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
Sri Lanka v England, First Test Day 4, Live, Sky Sports 1, 5.30