Alex Hales saw the chance of a first test century come and go for the second time in two innings as England reached 310-6 on day one against Sri Lanka.
Hales made 83 and shared a stand of 96 runs with Joe Root who made 80, meanwhile there were also contributions from James Vince and Jonny Bairstow.
Four brilliant catches from Sri Lanka saw for four of England's six wickets on day one as the visitors plugged away at England's top order.
Cook short of 10,000
England captain Alastair Cook won the toss and elected to bat at Chester Le Street as he went in search of his 10,000th test run.
However, Cook was to come up just five runs short as Suranga Lakmal found the outside edge of Cook's bat and Dimuth Karunaratne took an impressive diving catch in the slip cordon.
That brought Nick Compton to the crease who too is in search of runs after a poor start to the season.
The Middlesex top-order batsman made a slow start to his innings scoring just two runs from his first 19 deliveries before he too went as he was bounced out.
Lakmal took a fantastic catch at deep square leg as Compton's attempted hook shot took the top edge off of a Nuwan Pradeep short ball to make the score 64-2.
Hales and Root both pass 50
That brought Root to the crease looking to avenge his duck in the first test and the Yorkshireman got off to a typically brisk start getting 20 from his first 30 balls. Hales was plodding along at the other end before hitting a huge six down the ground to go to 50. Root also went through to his half-century, his 20th in test match cricket.
After Hales' disappointing exit in the first innings at Headingley, the Nottinghamshire opener looked determined to reach his first test century on day one, but it wasn't to be.
After taking an early liking to left-arm spinner Milinda Siriwardana, Hales attempted to cut a short ball through backward point,but could only find the top edge and was dismissed thanks to a fantastic one-handed reaction catch from Angelo Matthews for 83, to give Siriwardana just his ninth test wicket.
Root carried on as Vince came to the crease looking much more comfortable than in his first test innings, but Root was next to go after a 59-run partnership as he tried to fend off another short ball from Pradeep that spooned up to Kaushal Silva at cover to make the score 219-4.
Vince went just three overs later thanks to another fantastic catch, this time from Lahiru Thiramanne. Vince's mistimed cover drive skewed to Thiramanne, who plucked the ball out of the air to remove Vince for a solid 35.
Quick-scoring Bairstow departs before stumps
In-form Jonny Bairstow was still at the crease, and just like his Yorkshire team-mate Root earlier, was scoring at a quick rate,
However, Sri Lanka nipped out one more England wicket just three overs before the close of play as Bairstow bottom-edged a cut shot through to wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal two short of his 50, which brought up Pradeep's third wicket of the innings to finish with 3-69.
Moeen Ali will come back on Saturday morning 28 not out from a fairly pedestrian 70 balls, with Chris Woakes eight not out on his England return as the hosts are 310-6 overnight.