England's bowlers took just three wickets on the first day of their opening warm-up game in Sri Lanka.
They were given a harsh introduction to operating in the heat and humidity of Colombo as Upul Tharanga's unbeaten 92 led the SLC Board President's XI to 218-3, before rain brought a premature end to the final session.
Three dropped catches did not help England's cause - Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood and Alastair Cook the culprits. Both Tharanga and Chamara Kapugedera (48no) were reprieved during an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 92.
Stuart Broad took the opening wicket of the tour in the 14th over by having Dilruwan Perera (20) caught behind to end a 41-run opening partnership with Tharanga.
But England did not make another breakthrough for more than 20 overs as Malinda Warnapura helped Tharanga add 82 runs either side of lunch.
James Anderson came on first change but did not manage a second spell after lunch and is still suffering from stiffness in his back after sitting out Monday's net session.
Two cobras provided the lunchtime entertainment - Broad was made aware of the snakes' presence yards from the boundary edge late in the morning session and the majority of the players made for the area when the umpires called lunch.
Ryan Sidebottom and Monty Panesar took wickets in successive overs to peg back the hosts at 126-3 in afternoon.
Sidebottom trapped Warnapura lbw two short of a half-century, while Panesar had Tillakaratne Dilshan caught by Ravinder Bopara for a three-ball duck.
England are allowed to use all 16 members of their touring party during the three-day match, which consequently does not have first-class status.
And despite trying seven different bowlers, they failed to take another wicket as Tharanga and Kapugedera batted with increasing confidence after tea.
Tharanga, who was flown back early from the tour of Australia to play in this match, finished on 92 not out to press his claim for a Test recall - which was further strengthened by the recent retirement of Marvan Atapattu.
Steve Harmison arrived at the ground in the afternoon after flying in from South Africa to take his place as the 16th member of England's squad.
The Durham fast bowler had his selection confirmed after proving his fitness with a two-game stint with the Highveld Lions in South African domestic cricket.
He is expected to have his first bowl of the tour on Wednesday.