WORLD Cup winner Sanath Jayasuriya came back to haunt England once again and pound Alec Stewart's side into The Oval dust.
Jayasuriya has made a habit of giving England a miserable time and it was the same old story as Sri Lanka eased into command on the third day of the one-off Cornhill Test.
By the close they had raced past England's total, with seven wickets still standing - England having been blasted for 367 runs in the day while taking just two wickets.
Five years ago Jayasuriya smashed Phil Tufnell for six in Colombo to give Sir Lanka their first Test win over England and in 1995 he hammered 82 off just 44 balls to send us crashing to a dismal World Cup quarter- final defeat.
And by the time Jayasuriya reached a faultless double century just before tea, England's exhausted attack would have been understandably sick of the sight of the little left-hander.
Only a year ago Jayasuriya broke down in tears after narrowly failing to beat Brian Lara's Test record score of 375.
He couldn't believe that he had missed out after reaching 340 against India . . . but this time the powerful opener clearly set his stall out to make another massive score.
Backed by Aravinda de Silva, Jayasuriya hammered away at England's bowlers to lead the way as the pair set a new third- wicket record for Sri Lanka.
Yet England's day had started well enough. Resuming at 79 for one overnight, Sri Lanka soon lost No 3 Mahela Jayawardene for only nine.
He aimed a loose drive at a wide delivery from Angus Fraser to give Ben Hollioake a head-high catch in the gully.
That brought in de Silva and he was away almost at once, straight driving Fraser to the boundary. In the next over Jayasuriya sweetly timed another boundary off Darren Gough before flicking him for four through long-leg to bring up the hundred.
Then de Silva flicked another boundary to become the first Sri Lankan to pass 5,000 runs in Test cricket. The first hour's play had yielded 64 runs and it got no better as Jayasuriya hammered Cork to the ropes to take him to 98.
A few moments later he duly reached his fifth Test hundred - made from just 124 deliveries and including 17 fours.
Fraser's return couldn't stem the flood of runs and a hooked four by de Silva registered the hundred stand in only 119 balls to take the Sri Lankans into lunch at 192 for two.
After the interval, Jayasuriya took over to race away from de Silva and he piled the pressure on England and, in particular, struggling leg-spinner Ian Salisbury.
Cork could do little right when he came back for another spell. His first ball was punched over square leg, the next stroked through the covers before Jayasuriya picked up a wayward leg-side ball to hit him into the crowd and reach his 150.
De Silva was clearly happy to play a sensible anchor role as Sri Lanka ground on towards a mammoth total that would give their spinners something to bowl at on the final day. Jayasuriya was clearly enjoying himself and a deft sweep for four off Mark Ramprakash brought up the 200 partnership.
Jayasuriya - who was once dismissed for 199 in a Test against India - didn't make the same mistake again and when he worked a single off Fraser he raised his arms aloft to celebrate a brilliant double ton.
With 31 fours and one six, it came off only 254 balls - the sixth fastest double century in Test history.
Just before tea, England's tired players thought they had got him at last on 202 as he wafted at Fraser, but Shepherd turned down appeals for a catch behind by Stewart.But Stewart finally got his man as he edged down the leg side off Hollioake to go for 213 after 346 minutes and 33 fours.
But England's misery continued in the last session as de Silva deservedly eased past his century - that "Dream Team" attack from Headingley having a complete nightmare.
Afterwards England coach David Lloyd criticised a pitch which has yielded almost 900 runs for 13 wickets.
"I have been disappointed by the surface," he said. "We would have preferred a pitch with pace, some bounce and a little movement.""
Asked if England captain Alec Stewart echoed his sentiments, Lloyd replied:""Yes, that would be fair.""
Jayasuriya was modest about his fifth Test century, the first double century made in a Test match at The Oval since Pakistan's Javed Miandad struck 260 11 years ago.
He denied he was chasing Brian Lara's world Test record individual score of 374, claiming: "I never go for records - I always play for the team."
England v Sri Lanka
ENGLAND - First Innings
James c & b Muralitharan 36
Butcher c Jayas'a b Wick'inghe 10
Hick c Kaluw'na b Wick'inghe 107
Stewart c Tillakaratne b Perera 2
Ramprakash c Jay'w'e b Mura'n 53
Crawley not out 156
B Hollioake c Atap'tu b Mura'n 14
Cork b Muralitharan 6
Salisbury b Muralitharan 2
Gough c Kaluw'na b Muralith'n 4
Fraser b Muralitharan 32
Extras (b1,lb11,w2,nb9) 23
Total (158.3 ovs) 445
Bowling: Wickramasinghe 30-4-81-2, Perera 40-10-104-1, Dharmasena 18- 3-55-0, Muralitharan 59.3-14-155-7, Jayasuriya 11-0-38-0.
SRI LANKA - First Innings
Jayasuriya c Stewart b Hollioake 213
Atapattu lbw b Cork 15
Jayawardene c Hollioake b Fraser 9
de Silva not out 125
Ranatunga not out 50
Extras (b14, lb16, nb4) 34
Total (3 wkts, 110 ovs) 446
Fall: 1-53, 2-85, 3-328
(Sunday Mirror, Aug 30, 1998)