Kumar Sangakkara. Photo: Munir uz Zaman

London - Kumar Sangakkara scored his 46th half-century as Sri Lanka made slow progress in chasing down England's mammoth first innings total on a drizzly third day of the opening test at Lord's on Saturday.

Sri Lanka resumed at 140-1 in reply to England's Joe Root-inspired 575-9 declared, the 23-year-old from Yorkshire becoming the fourth-youngest England batsman to score a double century midway through Friday's afternoon session.

On a pitch that has few demons despite gloomy overhead conditions that may assist the bowlers later on, the visitors lost opener Kaushal Silva (63) before reaching lunch at a comfortable 212 for two with the graceful Sangakkara (73) and his equally-experienced partner Mahela Jayawardene (29) at the crease.

Silva could only add a single run to his overnight score, and having already been troubled by one James Anderson bouncer, failed to get his bat down while evading another to allow Matt Prior grab a sharp chance behind the stumps.

Sangakkara, who scored 319 and 105 in his last two test innings against Bangladesh in February but has never reached three figures at Lord's, brought up his 50 with a lovely push through the covers off Liam Plunkett.

Jayawardene began to find his touch despite being well beaten by Chris Jordan, making his debut alongside opener Sam Robson and all-rounder Moeen Ali.

England will hope the second new ball, due in the afternoon session, will offer their bowlers some help as they seek to dislodge the pair and make inroads into the Sri Lankan order targetting the follow-on mark.

The second and final test of the series is at Headingley, starting on June 20, before England host India in a five-match series. - Reuters