|First Test, Galle (day four)|
|Sri Lanka 135 (Bess 5-30) & 359 (Thirimanne 111, Leach 5-122)|
|England 421 (Root 228; D Perera 4-109) & 38-3 (Embuldeniya 2-13)|
|England need further 36 runs to win|
England need 36 runs on the final day to win the first Test against Sri Lanka despite losing three wickets in a chaotic end to the fourth day in Galle.
Chasing only 74, the tourists slipped to 14-3 as Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley fell to left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya before captain Joe Root was run out after a mix-up with Jonny Bairstow.
Bairstow, who survived a run-out chance of his own, and debutant Dan Lawrence saw England to 38 without further loss before bad light ended play early.
Bairstow and Lawrence will resume on 11 and seven respectively when play gets under way at 04:15 GMT on Monday.
Earlier, Sri Lanka were bowled out for 359, with Lahiru Thirimanne scoring 111 – his first century for almost eight years – and Angelo Matthews 73.
Jack Leach, playing his first Test since 2019, took 5-122 and Dom Bess 3-100 to finish with match figures of 8-130 and set up what should still be a comfortable victory despite a wearing pitch.
England panic in frantic final session
England won their most recent series in Sri Lanka 3-0, but their record in Asia, and playing spin, is poor and it reared its head again in a remarkable start to their fourth-innings chase.
Sibley, whom many feel is vulnerable against spin, was bowled for two not offering a shot, while Crawley, who was dropped on one, had made eight when he was superbly caught at gully by Kusal Mendis as he attempted a drive.
England contributed to their own problems as captain Root, who scored a magnificent 228 in the first innings, was run out by a direct hit by wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella, colliding with bowler Dilruwan Perera after Bairstow called for a risky single.
Bairstow and Lawrence restored calm in a 24-run stand to steer England to stumps, and they remain firm favourites to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
Sri Lanka show application
Sri Lanka, whose first-innings effort of 135 in just 46.1 overs was described as “one of the worse we’ve ever seen”, showed significantly more character and application in the second.
Opener Thirimanne, 76 not out as the hosts resumed on 156-2, moved to his second Test century – 54 innings after his first, the third longest gap in Test history – with a cut for four off Bess.
The left-hander only averaged 22 in 70 innings before this match, and his place was in serious doubt, but captain Dimuth Karunaratne was ruled out just before the game with a thumb injury.
After Thirimanne got a faint inside edge to the excellent Jos Buttler off Sam Curran, former captain Mathews played a dogged 219-ball innings that ensured Sri Lanka at least wiped out a 286-run first-innings deficit.
He chose the right balls to hit to the fence, with two of his four boundaries coming off the reverse sweep, while marshalling the tail.
When Mathews edged Leach to Root at slip to be last man out, Sri Lanka were left wondering what may have been if they had shown the same more discipline first time round.
More to follow.