Galle: Kumar Sangakkara and Malinda Warnapura hit impressive half-centuries to help Sri Lanka reach 126-1 in the first innings at tea in reply to India's 329 in the second Test here on Friday.
Warnapura was unbeaten on 60 and Sangakkara on 59 not out at the break to steady the innings after the third-ball dismissal of Michael Vandort on the second day.
The tourists were bowled out on the stroke of lunch after resuming at 214-4, with aggressive opener Virender Sehwag (201 not out) becoming only the second Indian after Sunil Gavaskar to carry his bat through the innings.
Sehwag also became the 10th Indian to complete 5,000 Test runs during his fifth score of 200 and more, including two triple-centuries.
The Indian batsmen, especially Sehwag, were involved in a fascinating duel with Sri Lanka's unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis (6-117), who grabbed a maiden haul of five or more wickets in an innings in only his second Test.
The tourists struck in the opening over when left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan had Vandort (four) caught by Rahul Dravid at third slip before running into the left-handed pair of Sangakkara and Warnapura.
Warnapura, who scored a century in the opening Test, exploded with a flurry of boundaries early in his innings, smashing Zaheer for four successive fours. He has so far struck one six and nine fours.
Sangakkara matched his partner shot for shot, hitting eight fours. He gave a chance immediately after completing his half-century, but wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik failed to hold the edge off spinner Harbhajan Singh.
In contrast, the Indian batting in the morning was a one-man show as Sehwag kept the moving despite the fall of wickets from the other end. The tourists lost their last six wickets for 51 runs.
Sehwag alone succeeded in solving the Mendis riddle with an attacking display, lofting the bowler for two sixes. He received support only from Venkatsai Laxman (39), extending the fifth-wicket stand to 100.
Mendis, who took just two wickets for 74 runs on Thursday, came back strongly to ensure Sehwag-inspired India did not post a big total. He gave away just 43 runs for his four wickets in the morning.
Sehwag was on 195 when last-man Ishant Sharma joined him, but succeeded in completing the double-hundred a few overs later with a single off spinner Muralitharan. He hit four sixes and 22 fours in his 231-ball knock.
The Indian cricketers wore black armbands in memory of former Test batsman Ashok Mankad, who died in Mumbai on Friday.
Brief Scores (at tea, D-2):
India Ist innings 329 (Sehwag 201 n o, Gambhir 56, Laxman 39; Mendis 6/117, Murali 2/93, Vaas 2/74) Vs Lanka 126/1 (Warnapura 60 n o, Sangakkara 59 n o; Zaheer 1/39).