Kumar Sangakkara scored a gritty half-century to help Sri Lanka post a respectable 211-9 in the fourth one-day international here on Wednesday.
The 29-year-old left-hander broke a prolonged poor run of form to top score with 69 off 102 balls and bail out the home team which was struggling at 20-3 after electing to bat first in the day-night game.
Sangakkara also shared a crucial 126-run partnership with Chamara Silva (67) for the fourth wicket in the face of some disciplined bowling by the visitors.
Paceman Ryan Sidebottom was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3-27 while James Anderson (3-33) and Stuart Broad (2-54) also impressed in a game which Sri Lanka must win if they are to square the five-match series 2-2.
The Sri Lankans got off to a disastrous start, losing their openers cheaply for the second time in a row in the series.
Upul Tharanga was dismissed again by left-arm paceman Sidebottom when he had him caught by Owais Shah for four.
Sanath Jayasuriya, playing in his record 402nd one-dayer, fumbled around for 22 balls before holing out to Kevin Pietersen off Anderson.
The Lancashire man soon dealt another blow to the home team when he sent back Mahela Jayawardene for a duck, the skipper slashing one to third-man fielder Broad.
Sangakkara and Silva then batted sensibly to put the innings back on rails.
The wicketkeeper-batsman reached his 41st ODI fifty with a single off Bopara while Silva also followed suit before falling to Broad for a 101-ball 67, inclusive of five fours.
Silva tried to uppercut a wide bouncer only for Bopara to take a fine running catch near the third man boundary.
Sangakkara fell to the same combination with Bopara this time taking the catch near the square-leg fence. His 102-ball innings included four fours.
After Sangakkara's dismissal in the 42nd over, the Sri Lankans kept losing wickets at regular intervals, with only Tillakaratne Dilshan (17) and Jehan Mubrak (20) offering some resistance.
The last match of the series will be played at the same venue on Saturday.
|U. Tharanga||c Shah b Sidebottom||4|
|S. Jayasuriya||c Pietersen b Anderson||3|
|K. Sangakkara||c Bopara b Broad||69|
|M. Jayawardene||c Broad b Anderson||0|
|C. Silva||c Bopara b Broad||67|
|K. Lokuarachchi||lbw b Collingwood||9|
|T. Dilshan||lbw b Anderson||17|
|J. Mubarak||b Sidebottom||20|
|C. Vaas||c Pietersen b Sidebottom||2|
|D. Fernando||not out||3|
|L. Malinga||not out||3|
|Total||(for nine wickets)||211|
Fall of wickets: 1-7 (Tharanga), 2-16 (Jayasuriya), 3-20 (Jayawardene), 4-146 (Silva), 5-158 (Sangakkara), 6-166 (Lokuarachchi), 7-190 (Dilshan), 8-195 (Vaas), 9-206 (Mubarak).
Umpires: Rudi Koertzen (RSA) and Tyron Wijewardene (SRI)