3rd Test, Colombo, day one: England 259-8 (at close) v Sri Lanka
Andrew Flintoff and Marcus Trescothick were England's leading lights as they reached 259-8 on day one of the third Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo.
Flintoff hit four sixes in his 77 and Trescothick made 70, but both were victims of Muttiah Muralitharan.
Sri Lanka's star spinner bowled 37 overs in the day, 20 of them maidens, for figures of 3-38.
England were 108-1 at one stage but lost four wickets either side of lunch as Muralitharan led the fightback.
Sri Lanka put down three catches during the day, with Michael Vaughan, Gareth Batty and Flintoff the beneficiaries.
They were unable to capitalise, however, adding only seven, one and nine runs respectively before finally being dismissed.
England went into the game with a side showing one change as Paul Collingwood made way for pace bowler James Anderson.
Sri Lanka also boosted their seam attack by including Dilhara Fernando, but it looked a dubious decision as he conceded 27 from his first three overs.
The normally dependable Chaminda Vaas also felt the weight of Trescothick's bat as he raced to 50 off 39 balls and dominated an opening stand of 78 with Vaughan.
Upul Chandana made the breakthrough when he removed Vaughan for 18, with Mahela Jayawardene reacting smartly at slip after the ball deflected off the wicket-keeper's gloves.
And he also halted Trescothick's aggressive innings when Muralitharan found the outside edge with the final ball before lunch, this time accepting a more straightforward catch.
Fernando finally found the right line to account for Mark Butcher (23) early in the afternoon session and Nasser Hussain followed for eight when he was lbw to an inswinging delivery from Vaas.
Marcus Trescothick gave England a flying start to the game
The decline continued as Muralitharan trapped Graham Thorpe in front for 13 to leave England on 139-5.
But Flintoff found a dependable ally in Gareth Batty and together they tilted the balance back in England's favour with a sixth wicket stand of 87.
Batty was content to face Muralitharan and allow Flintoff easier pickings from the support bowlers.
It was a tactic which gave the Lancashire all-rounder free rein for his attacking instincts and at one stage led to five fielders being posted on the boundary.
Wicket-keeper Kumar Sangakkara failed to hold a diving chance offered by Batty but it did not prove costly as he pulled a long-hop from Chandana to mid-on and was out for 14.
Flintoff followed 10 runs later when he was deceived by a ball from Muralitharan which did not come through as quickly as he expected and the bowler dived forwards to claim a low return catch.
This team is as far removed from their positive and entertaining countrymen of the 1980s and 90s as it is possible to be
The TV umpire was consulted and he confirmed the catch had been taken cleanly, leaving Flintoff to trudge back to the pavilion with his dream of a third Test century gone.
Ashley Giles was run out for 10 in the penultimate over of the day and close of play came with Chris Read 13 not out and James Kirtley on one.
Sri Lanka: S Jayasuriya, M Atapattu, K Sangakkara (wkt), M Jayawardene, T Dilshan, H Tillakaratne (capt), T Samaraweera, U Chandana, C Vaas, Dilhara Fernando, M Muralitharan.
England: M Vaughan (capt), M Trescothick, M Butcher, N Hussain, G Thorpe, A Flintoff, C Read (wkt), G Batty, A Giles, J Kirtley, J Anderson.