Hot and red-hot Dinesh Chandimal scored his second half-century in succession to increase Sri Lanka’s lead to 300 and stop the Pakistan attack on the third day of the first Test on Monday.
The hosts scored 329 points for nine at the time of bad lighting that stopped play in Galle.
Chandimal, who scored the 86th and Prabath Jayasuriya on four, were both batting in the closing stages of play, with Sri Lanka leading by 333 in their second innings.
Mohammad Nawaz claimed his maiden five-wicket haul. He also teamed up with spinner Yasir Shah, who scored three wickets to shake middle order of the opposition during the second session.
But Chandimal the batsman who blazed into form with his debut double century, 206-2 — in the victory in the series-levelling test against Australia this week, remained solid in a second lower-order display of defiance as the hosts fell to 235-7.
He reached fifty and put up 41 runs along with Maheesh Theekshana to take the ninth wicket, in another impressive performance from their hosts who returned from 133-8 in order to score 222 in their opening innings.
In the previous session, Kusal Mendis was 76 while opener Oshada Fernando made 64. They played a crucial third wicket stand of 91 after a wicket early during the early morning sessions.
Oshada hit the sixth milestone of his Test career, fifty during the first session, but was beaten by Yasir after the third ball, after lunch.
Kusal increased his score to fifty and fought off the opposition attack with a couple of boundaries, but Yasir bowled Kusal with an unplayable delivery that hit the outside leg, then turned to go over the top off stump.
Nawaz who has made a Test return after more than six years of absence and is playing his fourth five-day match, kept working and picked up key wickets, including Angelo Mathews and Niroshan Dickwella.
He was able to get nightwatchman Kasun Rajitha with his third delivery of the game, which set things in motion for Pakistan However, they Sri Lankan batsmen kept coming back to the pitch, which is expected to provide spinners with more turns on day four.
In a fiercely contested game of fights at the tail end, Pakistan were also able to hit back to score 218 on the back of captain Babar Azam’s record of 119 in the batting of the lower orders of his team on the second day.