Anderson puts SL on back foot
A superb opening spell from James Anderson gave England the edge in the second Test with Sri Lanka, who were 82 for three at lunch.
But Mahela Jayawardene was again proving a thorn in England's side.
Anderson took all three wickets to fall - including Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara in successive balls, the latter for a second golden duck in three innings.
But Jayawardene, who rescued his side from a similar position with a stellar 180 in the first innings of the first Test, halted the charge to lead the hosts to 82 for three at lunch in Colombo.
At the break he had 40 not out, with Thilan Samaraweera on 20no.
England went into the must-win match with three seamers, recalling Tim Bresnan and Steven Finn in place of the injured Stuart Broad and the dropped Monty Panesar.
They found a little early encouragement in the pitch, with Finn finding Lahiru Thirimanne's edge with his third ball and Anderson starting his second over with an lbw appeal against Dilshan.
Dilshan showed he was ready to take the attack to England, going hard at anything fully pitched and taking successive boundaries off Anderson.
But England's premier paceman took his revenge with the next delivery, locating the outside edge and handing Prior a smart, low catch.
That brought Sangakkara to the crease and, for the second time in the series, Anderson sent him back at the first ask.
This time the edge flew to England's under-pressure captain Andrew Strauss at first slip. He juggled the initial chance but his instincts kicked in just in time for him to grab the ball one-handed as it fell toward the ground.
Anderson had to wait until the start of his next over to bowl the hat-trick ball but, as he did in the first Test, Jayawardene denied him.
Thirimanne was next out, for eight, when he left unwisely padded up to an Anderson delivery that was destined for middle stump.
He referred the decision only for replays to confirm his misjudgement.
As in the first match, Jayawardene was the key. He was waiting for the bad balls and punishing them so well that 20 of his first 26 runs came in boundaries.
England's pace trio were striving for a fourth wicket, but found Jayawardene and Samaraweera less obliging than their predecessors, despite the occasional false shot.
After 20 overs, Strauss turned to spin at both ends, with Samit Patel and Graeme Swann called into the attack without success.