Colombo: Wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha struck a patient half-century while Ravindra Jadeja remained unbeaten on 70 as India declared their innings after scoring 622 for the loss of nine wickets on Day Two of the second Test against Sri Lanka on Friday.
India, who started the day on 344-3, stuttered after losing their middle order to Sri Lankan spinners but Saha hung on to thwart the bowling attack with his 67-run knock.
Six Indian batsmen have scored 50 or more – including centuries to Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane – as the tourists go in search of a series-clinching win.
Sri Lanka are a bowler short after Nuwan Pradeep, their only paceman in the XI, left the field with a pulled hamstring on Day One and did not return. He is expected to bat, however.
Saha put on partnerships with Hardik Pandya, who scored 20, and Ravindra Jadeja en route to his fifth Test fifty at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground.
Earlier all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin scored a fluent 54 before he was bowled by left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, who has claimed four wickets in the innings.
Debutant left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara picked up two wickets, including overnight centurion Rahane for 132 – his maiden Test wicket – in the morning session.
Part-time bowler Dimuth Karunaratne claimed Pujara, who added just five runs to his overnight 128 to depart on 133, ending a 217-run fourth-wicket stand.
India, who lead the three-match series 1-0, need a win to clinch the series. The hosts need at least a draw to keep their hopes alive.