COLOMBO: Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara top-scored with 75 as the hosts prospered against an untidy Indian attack on the opening day of the third and final Test on Tuesday.
Former skipper Mahela Jayawardene made 56 and Thilan Samaraweera remained unbeaten on 65 as Sri Lanka, leading 1-0 in the series, piled up 293/4 by stumps at the P Sara Oval in Colombo.
All-rounder Angelo Mathews was the other batsman at the crease on 26, having put on 52 runs so far for the fifth wicket with Samaraweera.
Sangakkara, who won his third successive toss and decided to take first strike on the even-paced wicket, missed out on a third century in the series.
The left-hander, who made 103 in the first Test and 219 and 42 not out in the second, looked set for another big knock when he hit five boundaries and two sixes with fluent elegance.
But a lapse in concentration midway through the afternoon session caused his downfall when he lofted left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha to long-on, where Virender Sehwag held the skier.
India, seeking a series-levelling win after losing the first Test, were let down by the bowlers, who sent down 14 no-balls and two wides during the day.
Leg-spinner Amit Mishra, making his first appearance in the series in place of the injured Harbhajan Singh, was the worst culprit with six no-balls in his 0-99 from 25 overs.
Ojha, the most successful bowler of the day with 2-78, sent down four no-balls. Seamer Ishant Sharma bowled three and Sehwag one, while Abhimanyu Mithun conceded two wides.
Sangakkara was given a life on 23 when third slip Suresh Raina lunged to his right and dropped the ball that was carrying comfortably to Venkatsai Laxman at second slip. Mithun was the unlucky bowler.
Jayawardene, who put on 84 for the fourth wicket with Samaraweera, was unlucky to be given out leg-before by Australian umpire Rod Tucker in the final session.
Television replays indicated the ball from Ojha would have passed over the stumps.
Sri Lanka, batting almost the entire day in overcast conditions, lost both openers in the morning session to go to lunch on 102-2.
Tharanga Paranavitana, who also hit centuries in each of the previous two Tests, fell for eight when he edged Sharma to wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Tillakaratne Dilshan (41) added 87 for the second wicket with Sangakkara, before he was run out off what turned out to be the last ball of the morning session.
Dilshan stepped out to defend a no-ball from Ojha, but failed to return to his crease as Murali Vijay fielded the ball at silly-point and passed it back to Dhoni.
Replays showed Dilshan’s back-foot was not grounded when Dhoni broke the stumps.
India went into the decisive Test without the injured duo of opener Gautam Gambhir and seasoned off-spinner Harbhajan.
Raina, who hit a century on his debut in the last match, was preferred over Yuvraj Singh for the number six spot.
Indian star Sachin Tendulkar’s 169th Test made him the most-capped player in history, surpassing former Australian captain Steve Waugh’s tally of 168 appearances.
Fit-again fast bowler Lasith Malinga returned for Sri Lanka along with left-arm seamer Chanaka Welegedara. They replaced Dilhara Fernando and Dammika Prasad, who shared the new ball in the second Test. (AFP)