Tremlett puts England on top of Sri Lanka at Rose Bowl
|Third Test, The Rose Bowl (day two):|
|Sri Lanka 177-9 v England|
Local hero Chris Tremlett enhanced his growing reputation as a top-class fast bowler as England took a firm grip on the third Test against Sri Lanka on another rain-hit day at the Rose Bowl.
The 6ft 8in paceman, born in Southampton and a former Hampshire player, took a Test-best 6-42 as England reduced Sri Lanka to 177-9 before wet weather brought a premature end to the second day.
Steaming in from the Pavilion End, Tremlett generated both lift and movement to single-handedly reduce the tourists from their overnight 81-4 to 117-7 and ensure he became the first name on the honours' board at Test cricket's newest venue.
Prasanna Jayawardene (43) and Dilhara Fernando stemmed the flow of wickets with a partnership of 41 in 11 overs before Graeme Swann struck with his second ball to remove the former, and Tremlett had Suranga Lakmal caught behind for a golden duck before heavy rain took the players off shortly after 1500 BST.
Tremlett's superb performance contrasted sharply with that of Stuart Broad, whose own attempts to unsettle the Sri Lankan tail with short-pitched bowling were wholly ineffective, leaving him with figures of 0-50 from 18 overs.
In his four Tests before this one, Broad has taken just eight wickets at 56.13 and another poor return at the Rose Bowl could see his place under threat ahead of the India series later in the summer.
With Broad struggling, Andrew Strauss unsurprisingly asked James Anderson and Tremlett to open up the bowling when the rain stopped to allow the second day's play to get underway at 1310.
And Tremlett repaid his captain's faith in his first over, roughing up Thilan Samaraweera with a lifter that slammed into his bottom hand and required treatment, before dismissing the batsman for 31 with a fuller delivery that caught a thick edge en route to Kevin Pietersen at gully.
Thisara Perera lasted just six balls before he attempted to pull a short-pitched ball from Tremlett and was caught by Matt Prior behind the stumps.
And the Surrey paceman took his third wicket in 20 balls when Rangana Herath - after a quickfire 12 runs - top-edged a slog down to Jimmy Anderson at fine leg.
"I tried to bowl a bit fuller but I don't think the Sri Lankans like it round their ear holes," said Tremlett.
"I got good bounce from back of a length and was a little more consistent.
"I'm very happy with my performance and hopefully I can do it again in the second innings."
Jayawardene, Sri Lanka's most consistent performer with the bat in this series, showed great courage to weather the Tremlett and Broad barrage, only to be undone by the off-spin of Swann.
Perhaps sensing the opportunity to counter-attack, he aimed a heave to the leg side and was snaffled by Eoin Morgan at deep midwicket.
Lakmal was caught behind off a top-edged hook from the first ball of the next over from Tremlett to leave Sri Lanka nine down, before heavy rain forced the players off for what proved to be the end of day two.
If the weather improves over the final three days, England will be hopeful of wrapping up the win that would give them a 2-0 series victory.
"The weather has been unkind, but the game is moving on," added Tremlett.
"Hopefully we can take the last wicket quickly, bat positively and then bowl Sri Lanka out again. We want to win this series 2-0."
Only 23.2 overs were bowled on Friday as the adverse weather conditions frustrated players and spectators alike.
Under England and Wales Cricket Board regulations, all Rose Bowl ticket holders are entitled to a 50% refund because less than 25 overs were bowled in the day.