London, June 7: With a lead of 156 with 8 wickets in hand, England ended Day 4 of the second Test against Sri Lanka, in a strong position. Alastair Cook was not out 61 and Kevin Peitersen was batting on 15 as the hosts amassed 149/2 in their second innings. Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka resumed batting at 372/3 only to be bowled out for 479. England bowler Steven Finn finished with figures of 4/108 and Graeme Swann took 3/101.
Resuming battle on a rain-delayed morning of the fourth day at 374/3 in 103 overs, Sri Lanka set about reducing the 114-run gap with England's first innings score. Thilan Samaraweera who was not out on 4 and Mahela Jayawardene, unbeaten on 44, picked up from where they had left off.
But in just the 109th over, there was trouble when Steven Finn had Jayawardene caught at third slip for 49 off 84 balls. In the very next over, Chris Tremlett had Samaraweera caught behind for 9 off 42 balls, as Sri Lanka slumped to 394/5.
Then Prasanna Jayawardene and Farveez Mahroof played cautiously to take Lanka past 400 in the the 114th over. But the latter couldn't hold out much longer, getting trapped lbw by Stuart Broad for 2 off 14 balls as the visitors slid to 409/6. Then new batsman Rangana Herath and Prasanna took the score over 450 in the 124th over with a flurry of boundaries.
But the English bowlers struck back, as Graeme Swann had Herath stumped for 26 off 33 balls and Finn got Jayawardene caught at slip for 40 off 64 balls. From there, the end of the Lankan innings came swiftly with Swann dismissing Dilhara Fernando for 5 and Welegedara in quick succession. The Lankan innings folded for 479 in 131.4 overs, handing England a lead of 7 runs.
England's second innings got off to a shaky start as Welegedara trapped Andrew Strauss in front for 0. But new man Jonathan Trott looked as solid as ever and together with an equally resilient Cook, took England to 50/1 in 13 overs. Trott had evidently taken on the mantle of aggressor, striking two fours off Mahroof, as England climbed to 17/1 in 18 overs.
Then Cook struck a four as the side from Ole Blight went past 100 in the 24th over. Trott pitched in with one more boundary before he was bowled by Herath for 58 off 75 balls, leaving England at 117/2. But Cook stayed focussed on the job at hand and together with Pietersen took England to 149/2 in 41 overs with a solid lead of 156.