Kandy:England's Ian Bell hit a stylish half-century and shared 107 runs with captain Michael Vaughan for the second wicket on Sunday as the visitors reached 145-3 at lunch on the second day of the first test against Sri Lanka.
England lost opener Alastair Cook without any score on the board on the first day Saturday but Bell and Vaughan built a responsible partnership Sunday in reply to the hosts' first innings of 188.
The pair dominated with elegant strokeplay until Vaughan (37) was dubiously adjudged caught bat and pad by Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar.
Television replays showed the Muttiah Muralithran delivery missed the inside edge of Vaughan's bat and bounced into Chamara Silva's hand off the pad.
Shortly before lunch Bell (83) stepped out to drive Muralitharan but mistimed it and Silva at short-midwicket took a diving catch.
Bell spent 187 minutes at the crease, faced 125 balls and hit 12 fours to record his 15th half-century.
Muralitharan's two wickets moved him to a career test tally of 706, just three away from breaking the world record for the most number of test wickets held by retired Australian legspinner Shane Warne.
Despite losing the toss on the first day, England seamer Matthew Hoggard and spinner Monty Panesar shared seven wickets to dismiss Sri Lanka cheaply.
Hoggard demolished the top order and finished with 4-29 while Panesar recorded 3-46.
Sri Lanka was struggling at 42-5 but a 106-run partnership for the sixth wicket between Kumar Sangakkara and Prasanna Jayawardene restored Sri Lanka's innings.
Jayawardene scored 51 while Sangakkara missed out on his 16th test century by eight runs.