England and Sri Lanka fought out an even first session in the second Investec Test after home captain Alastair Cook asked the tourists to bat first.
On the occasion of Ian Bell's 100th Test - which was marked with a pre-match presentation - Cook took the brave move of inserting Sri Lanka in cloudy, but hardly oppressive, conditions.
It took an hour before the first wicket arrived, James Anderson working over Kaushal Silva before persuading him to edge behind, and Liam Plunkett followed up by ripping out Dimuth Karunaratne's leg stump.
At lunch the score was 74 for two but England would have taken a significant stride had Bell held a hard catch off Mahela Jayawardene in the final over of the morning.
The opening bursts from Anderson and Stuart Broad confirmed there was more carry in the pitch than at Lord's in the first Test, but there was nothing unduly troubling for the batsmen.
Anderson was flirting with the outside edge of both openers despite finding only moderate swing but it was Broad who came closer to parting the openers in his first spell.
He rapped Silva on the pads with the final ball of the eighth over and could not persuade Cook to review Billy Bowden's not out call.
Replays confirmed it would have been given by DRS and Silva was reprieved on 10.
Karunaratne had his own slice of luck when Chris Jordan's second delivery rose to hit the shoulder of the bat, only to sail above Cook's grasp at slip.
England were getting closer and Anderson finally got the ball rolling when he had Silva groping at consecutive deliveries then edging the third to Matt Prior.
Kumar Sangakkara nearly followed for a duck attempting to pinch a single but Broad's throw missed the stumps and Prior was unable to gather on the half-volley with the batsman still short.
As it was, Karunaratne was the next man out, Yorkshire seamer Plunkett striking with his second ball on home turf.
The manner of dismissal was emphatic and underlined the reasons for the paceman's return after seven years in the cold.
Plunkett went short and straight in the last over of the session and Jayawardene ignored Bell's presence at leg-slip by pulling firmly towards the fielder, who got two hands to it but failed to hold on.