Panesar stunts Sri Lanka's fightback
Sri Lanka 192 (Jayawardene 61, Hoggard 4-27) and 183 for for 3 (Sangakkara 62, Jayawardene 35*, Maharoof 5*) trail England 551 for 6 dec by 176 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out
The improved results by Sri Lanka's top order stemmed from the gutsy resistance during the first session where Mahela Jayawardene fought to 61 then Chaminda Vaas and Nuwan Kulasekara launched some lusty blows. However Sri Lanka still trail by 176 leaving Jayawardene with a huge role to play. The odds are hugely stacked against them especially after Panesar's impressive first bowl at home.
Panesar had to wait until five minutes before tea to get the call to action, but caused problems from the start, finding a hint of turn and flighting the ball with the same loop and dip that dismissed Sachin Tendulkar and Mohammad Kaif on his debut. He came very close to having Tharanga lbw but got his man soon afterwards when the batsman feathered a straighter ball through to Geraint Jones.
It was a smart catch as the chance kept low and Jones was already on his way up when the nick came. Jones earlier dropped a tough chance off Sangakkara, when a delivery bounced and took the edge. He made amends, though, during Panesar's second spell when Sangakkara got a faint edge as he pushed forward.
Panesar could have had a third but an inside edge to silly point from Farveez Maharoof wasn't detected. However, the value of his selection had been highlighted, bringing variation to the attack and allowing the seamers to rest as, not for the first time, it proved hard to run through a side for a second time.
When Andrew Flintoff enforced the follow-on during the lunch interval, the feeling was Sri Lanka's batting would fold again under an onslaught from England's pacemen. The early signs supported this as Hoggard swung the ball both ways and, as in the first innings, had the openers in all sorts of trouble. It was no surprise when he brought one back between Jehan Mubarak's bat and pad.
When Tharanga fell, Sangakkara took the innings on his shoulders while Jayawardene settled, unfurling some stunning cover drives and countering a hint of reverse swing by playing the ball late. For a dashing batsman, Sangakkara's 121-ball half-century was a sedate affair though he needed to build a huge century to maintain Sri Lanka's hopes of saving the match.
But the Sri Lankans will be encouraged by their rearguard action and the signs they were up for the fight came early through Jayawardene and the tail in the first innings. Hoggard snaffled the breakthrough he needed to reach his personal milestone when Maharoof looped a return catch back to the bowler who tumbled to his left. Hoggard lay on his back, and threw the ball in the air, as his team-mates mobbed him in celebration of his landmark.
Jayawardene was undone by a pearler from Flintoff and a swift end seemed likely, but England's catching let them down with Vaas being missed twice, on 9 and 13, by Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss. Vaas and Kulasekara clubbed a fifty stand before the jolly was ended by Hoggard and Flintoff, leaving England's bowlers 40 minutes to rest before having another crack.
It proved a tougher challenge, but the strength of this England side is that, invariably, someone steps forward. After the quick men had taken advantage of overcast conditions, it was Panesar who enjoyed his moment in the sun.
Overnight 91 for 6
Farveez Maharoof c and b Hoggard 22 (129 for 7)
Leading edge trying to turn to leg, tumbling catch in follow-through
Mahela Jayawardene c Jones b Flintoff 61 (131 for 8)
Short of a length, moved away, thin edge to the keeper
Chaminda Vaas c Trescothick b Hoggard 31 (192 for 9)
Fast, flashing edge held head-height at first slip
Nuwan Kulasekara c Strauss b Flintoff 29 (192 all out)
Bouncer fended to second slip
Jehan Mubarak b Hoggard 6 (10 for 1)
Ball swung back between bat and pad
Upul Tharanga c Jones b Panesar 52 (119 for 2)
Played for the turn, went straight on, sharp low catch
Kumar Sangakkara c Jones b Panesar 65 (178 for 3)
Pushed forward, thin edge
Andrew McGlashan is editorial assistant of Cricinfo