Colombo - Kaushal Silva and captain Angelo Mathews scored half-centuries to push Sri Lanka to 304-9 at stumps on the second day of the second Test against Pakistan on Friday, with a first-innings lead of 166 runs.
Pakistan legspinner Yasir Shah collected his second five-wicket haul of the series to slow Sri Lanka's progress, but valuable contributions from tail-enders put the hosts in control.
"The wicket is spinning throughout the day," said Silva, who added that his team is aiming for a first-innings lead of 200 runs to mount more pressure on Pakistan. "If we can get a couple of wickets with the new ball we can be in a good position."
Silva scored 80 off 218 balls, spending more than five-and-a-half hours at the crease and hitting 10 boundaries before getting run out while trying to take a single with Mathews.
The dismissal ended a 72-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Mathews got a reprieve on 32 when Shah dropped him off left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar and went on to score 77 off 153 deliveries, including eight boundaries, before being trapped lbw by Shah.
Shah also bowled Dinesh Chandimal (1), who charged down the crease and misjudged the length, and Kithruwan Vithanage (3), who attempted a reverse-sweep against a sharply turning delivery, to give his team a chance to restrict Sri Lanka to a smaller lead.
However, No 8 Dhammika Prasad (35) combined with Mathews for 73 runs for the seventh wicket, and Tharindu Kaushal hit 18. Rangana Herath (10) and Dushmantha Chameera (0) are the not-out batsmen.
Shah has bowling figures of 5-95 and also recorded 50 wickets in Test cricket.
Shah told reporters after the day's play that he was under pressure to live up to the judgment of Australian leg spinner Shane Warne who in a tweet last year praised the newcomer's abilities.
"Things so far have been good," he said.
Pakistan received a huge blow overnight when paceman Wahab Riaz was ruled out of the series due to a fractured left wrist, sustained when he was struck by a delivery from Dushmantha Chameera on Thursday.
Pakistan was dismissed for 138 in its first innings on Thursday.
Pakistan leads the three-match series 1-0 after winning the first Test in Galle by 10 wickets.