Defending champions England must successfully chase 169 for six against Sri Lanka at Pallekele to avoid an early exit from the ICC World Twenty20.
Only victory in Monday night's Super Eight match will take England into the semi-finals, at the expense of the West Indies on net run rate, and after Sri Lanka hit seven sixes in all, Stuart Broad's team faced no easy task.
No Sri Lanka batsman could dominate the innings on his own, as Broad (three for 32) fared best of the bowlers, but each kept hitting big shots after being put in under lights.
Steven Finn and Jade Dernbach used the new ball well, until the latter dropped short in his second over and was hooked, by Mahela Jayawardene, and upper-cut, by Tillakaratne Dilshan, for sixes.
Dernbach had already had Dilshan dropped head-high at slip by Graeme Swann, on seven. But it was not a costly miss, because Finn soon had the opener lbw bang in front. Jayawardene played and missed at some early drives but then batted serenely, as he almost always does, to help his team to 74 for one at the halfway mark.
The 11th over, however, brought an advantageous trade-off for England - eight runs off Swann, and two key wickets. Swann had Jayawardene well-held by Eoin Morgan, diving in at deep midwicket, and then Kumar Sangakkara controversially caught-behind next ball.
Sangakkara appeared perplexed to be given out by Steve Davis, and replays did not obviously demonstrate any contact with the bat, but Jonny Bairstow, keeping wicket in place of the dropped Craig Kieswetter, did not mind about that.
Sri Lanka had to start again, with two men in on nought. But Jeevan Mendis immediately swept and then slog-swept Swann for boundaries, and at the other end Angelo Mathews climbed into two off-drives for boundaries off Broad.
After the fourth-wicket pair shared a half-century stand in five overs, Broad returned to become the second England bowler to put himself on a hat-trick. He had Mendis mis-pulling to midwicket, and then Mathews edging on to his stumps as he tried the same shot.
Once more, two new batsmen were in on nought. But again, they flourished - Thisara Perera especially with some muscular hitting to give the hosts the edge at the interval.