Joe Root made an unbeaten century while Matt Prior and Moeen Ali also impressed, as England finished strongly to reach 344/5 at the close on day one of the first Investec Test against Sri Lanka at Lord’s.
Root’s ton, his third in Tests and second at Lord's following his 180 against Australia last summer, anchored the innings for the hosts after their new look top three struggled on the opening morning.
He put together strong partnerships with Ian Bell, who made a silky 56 from 75 balls, and Moeen, before forming the day’s defining, unbeaten stand of 135 with the returning Prior - who was closing in on his own ton by the close, reaching 76.
It could have been so different for England’s wicket-keeper – playing only his second first-class match of 2014 – who survived the narrowest of hawk-eye reviews for LBW off Rangana Herath from his second ball when England were wobbling on 209/5.
He quickly looked back to his counter-attacking best though, taking the game away from Sri Lanka as the day grew old, reaching his half-century in 81-balls with a trademark square-drive and continuing to dominate the partnership with Root to the close.
Moeen had briefly threatened to play the day’s defining knock, so comfortable and stylish did he look while making his Test bow, but he perished trying to reach his half century with a flash through the covers.
There will be some question marks about Angelo Mathews’s decision to field after winning the toss on a warm and dry morning at Lord’s, but with a tinge of green remaining on the surface, his decision seemed quickly vindicated as both openers fell quickly.
Sam Robson had a less profitable debut than Moeen, edging a slightly loose cover drive through to the ‘keeper Jayawardene off Nuwan Pradeep - who bowled well for 2/67 - for just one, before captain Alastair Cook chopped onto his stumps after a slightly scratchy 17.
When new number three Gary Balance also fell before lunch, England would have felt pangs of déjà vu to their winter struggles, but Root and company readdressed the balance on what looks a fine batting pitch, and will be confident of forging beyond 400 on the second day.
Day one photos