Chester-le-Street - England captain Alastair Cook was still left searching for his 10,000th run in Test cricket as fellow opener Alex Hales, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow all missed out on contrasting landmarks at the Riverside on Friday.
Yet for all those setbacks, England still ended the first day of the second Test against Sri Lanka on 310 for six.
Moeen Ali was 28 not out and Chris Woakes eight not out, with Sri Lanka paceman Nuwan Pradeep taking three for 69 from 19 overs.
England's total was all the more significant given Sri Lanka had been dismissed for 91 and 119 during an innings and 88-run defeat in the first Test of this three-match series at Headingley last week.
Sri Lanka's catching had let them down in Leeds, but on Friday they held three tough chances.
"It was a brilliant day for us," Sri Lanka left-arm spinner Milinda Siriwardana told BBC Radio's Test Match Special after stumps.
"We got six wickets and the conditions are good," added Siriwardana, who marked his recall in place of the dropped Dasun Shanaka with two for 35 in eight overs Friday.
"We fielded really well, we took the half-chances."
Cook, who won the toss in overcast conditions that offered some swing movement, was out for 15 -- five shy of the 20 runs he needed to become the first England batsman to reach 10,000 in Tests.
And for the second time in as many innings, Hales fell in the 80s when in sight of a maiden Test century.
Meanwhile Root's 80 meant he had failed to convert seven of his last eight Test fifties into a hundred.
Cook was out when recalled paceman Suranga Lakmal, in for the injured Dushmantha Chameera, had him well-taken low down by diving second slip Dimuth Karunaratne as the left-hander carelessly pushed away from his body.
New batsman Nick Compton, playing for his Test place after his duck at Headingley, was out for nine when he top-edged a hook off Pradeep and Lakmal, after the ball had gone over his shoulder, held a stunning two-handed catch at long leg that left him facing the boundary and just inches from the rope.- Brilliant Mathews -
Hales, 45 not out at lunch, completed a 131-ball fifty with eight fours.
Having made 86 at Headingley, he went into the 80s on Friday with a straight six off Siriwardana's fourth delivery of the day.
But next ball Siriwardana had his revenge when Hales's fiercely-edged cut was superbly caught one-handed by Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews at slip.
Hales was out for 83, having added 96 with Root.
"When you get in you want to make a big score, but I'd have taken it at the start of the day," said Hales.
"It's was my own fault, I probably try to hit it too hard. Mathews, at slip, went a little deeper and took a brilliant catch."
Root in common with Compton, was surprised by a Pradeep bouncer.
He could neither pull nor cut as the ball got 'big' on him and spooned a simple catch to cover.
Sri Lanka did not have long to wait until England's 219 for four became 227 for five.
James Vince, in his second innings in Test cricket, had struck four fours on his way to 35.
But he was out when his hard-hit drive off Siriwardana was expertly held by a diving Lahiru Thirimanne at short cover.
Bairstow's century at Headingley -- his Yorkshire home ground -- had won him the man-of-the-match award.
Promoted up the order in the absence of the injured Ben Stokes, Bairstow was just two runs away from a fifty on Friday when he bottom-edged a cut off Pradeep and was caught behind.
Bairstow ran Sri Lanka ragged with his speed between the wickets, but the tourists admirably got through Friday's 90 overs without conceding a single wide or no-ball.