Colombo - Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis hit fighting half-centuries to keep Sri Lanka afloat during their follow-on against India on day three of the second Test in Colombo on Saturday.
The hosts were 118 for one at tea, still trailing India by 321 runs in their second innings. Opener Karunaratne on 55 and Mendis on 61 have put on 111 runs for the second wicket so far.
Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka nosedived from their overnight 50-2 to 183 all out, handing the visitors a chance to clinch the three-match series 2-0.
The islanders were in early trouble in the second innings when paceman Umesh Yadav got opener Upul Tharanga out for two after lunch on a seemingly deteriorating pitch.
The left-right batting combine of Karunaratne and Mendis then dug in their heels to deny the tourists any more wickets in the second session.
It was the first session that hit the hosts hard as they lost eight of their remaining wickets and conceded a 439-run lead in response to India's formidable 622-9 declared.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who had removed the Sri Lankan openers at the end of day two, claimed five wickets to rattle the Sri Lankan middle and lower order.
The Dinesh Chandimal-led Sri Lanka need at least a draw to stay alive in the series.