Colombo: Sri Lanka grabbed four wickets in the final session to halt England's confident start in the second Test at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) here on Sunday.
Fast bowler Lasith Malinga took two wickets off successive balls as England, electing to take first strike in good batting conditions, slumped from 168-1 to 258 for 5 by close of the opening day's play.
Paul Collingwood was the last recognised batsman at the crease on 49 while wicket-keeper Matthew Prior was on 10 when play was called off three overs early due to bad light.
Skipper Michael Vaughan hit 87 and opening partner Alastair Cook made 81 to give the tourists an early boost after they lost the first Test in Kandy.
But three unfortunate dismissals -- before and after the appearance of a male streaker in the last session -- set England back by the end of an eventful day's cricket.
Vaughan and Cook put on 133 for the first wicket, England's first opening century stand since the Headingley Test against Pakistan in 2006 - 15 Tests ago.
Vaughan, timing the ball superbly and looking set for his 18th century, fell against the run of play to give Sri Lanka a timely break midway through the afternoon session.
The batsman flicked Muttiah Muralitharan hard but the ball lodged between the knees of short-leg fielder Jehan Mubarak, who fell backwards by the impact but ensured the ball did not hit the ground.
Vaughan, who had cut the previous delivery for his 12th boundary, stood in disbelief at the crease for a brief while before walking off.
Mubarak caught Ian Bell neatly off the same bowler in the second over after tea, but controversy erupted when Kevin Pietersen (one) was given out by Australian umpire Daryl Harper.
Pietersen edged Chaminda Vaas to second slip where Chamara Silva dived to scoop the ball off the turf and Kumar Sangakkara at first slip took the rebound.
Harper consulted with his square-leg colleague Aleem Dar before ruling the batsman out without seeking the help of television replays, which showed the ball hit the ground before Silva scooped it up.
Pietersen, who saw the replay on the giant screen, stopped near the boundary line to see if the umpires would reverse their decision, but Harper once again raised his finger.
Left-handed Cook, who returned to form after being dismissed for zero and four in the Kandy Test, was unfortunate to be declared leg-before by Harper off Malinga bowling with the second new ball.
Replays indicated the ball would have missed leg stump and loud jeers rang out from 3,000 travelling English supporters who outnumbered local fans.
Malinga then yorked Ravi Bopara first ball to make England 237-5 before Collingwood and Prior saw out the day.
England had made two changes from the Kandy Test, leaving out injured fast bowler Matthew Hoggard and fellow seamer James Anderson. They were replaced by Steve Harmison and debutant Stuart Broad.
Sri Lanka recalled 22-year-old opener Upul Tharanga in place of Sanath Jayasuriya, who announced his retirement from Test cricket after the Kandy match.
The unidentified male streaker halted play briefly when he sprinted in from the stand next to the Press Box just as Muralitharan was about to bowl to Collingwood.
He took two cartwheels on the field as bemused fans and players looked on, before returning to the stand where local police were waiting to escort him out of the ground.
Local journalists said it was the first instance of a streaker appearing at a cricket match in Sri Lanka.