Dambulla: Owais Shah hit a solid half-century under pressure to help England reach a respectable 234-8 against Sri Lanka in the second one-day international here on Thursday.
England were struggling at 61 for 4 after winning the toss on a slow pitch, but Shah rallied the tourists with a 92-ball 82 for his fourth half-century in 28 matches.
Shah put on 78 for the fifth wicket with skipper Paul Collingwood (42) and 70 for the seventh with Graeme Swann (34), who was recalled to the squad after making his one-day debut seven years ago.
Sri Lanka lead 1-0 the five-match series following their 119-run win in the opening one-dayer here on Monday.
Sri Lankan opener Sanath Jayasuriya became the first player to figure in 400 one-day internationals.
England were earlier rattled by pace as Farveez Maharoof (3 for 30) and Dilhara Fernando shared four wickets to put the tourists under pressure.
Maharoof, who wrecked England with four wickets in the first match, jolted the top order with a twin-strike in his disciplined opening spell when he removed Phil Mustard (28) and Ian Bell (18).
Fernando then dismissed Collingwood, who was trapped leg-before after hitting one six and two fours.
England's batting woes began with the third-over dismissal of Alastair Cook (one), caught by a diving Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene at first slip off seamer Chaminda Vaas.
Poor shot-selection under pressure led to the dismissals of wicket-keeper Mustard and Kevin Pietersen, who were unable to force the pace after having spent time in the middle.
Mustard stepped to off-side and tried to scoop the ball over fine-leg, but the resultant top-edge went straight to Jehan Mubarak in the cover.
Pietersen made an uncharacteristic 41-ball 12 before losing his patience and wicket. He tried to pull a Fernando delivery from outside the off-stump and was caught by Jayawardene at mid-wicket.
Shah, Collingwood and Swann then batted sensibly to help their team cross the 200-mark.