Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott earned England an outside chance of a remarkable victory with a resolute partnership against Sri Lanka on the third day of the first Test in Galle.
England, set a daunting 340 to win, reached 111 for the loss of both their openers before the close.
Bearing in mind that England have been dismissed for under 260 in six of their last seven Test innings and have never successfully chased more than 332 to win a Test, the weight of history and logic is against them.
Statistics at Galle also provide little comfort.
No team has scored more than 253 in the fourth innings of any of the 18 previous Tests on this ground and the highest successful fourth-innings chase at the ground is just 96.
Sri Lanka, by contrast, will have many reasons to thank their pair of unrelated Jayawardenes: Prasanna and Mahela.
While it was the latter's first-innings century that plotted the direction of this game it was the former's second innings half-century that drove the defining nail into England's coffin.