Angelo Mathews and Mahela Jayawardene lifted Sri Lanka from a precarious position by scoring half-centuries in an unbroken 140-run partnership for the sixth wicket at tea on the second day of the first test against New Zealand on Saturday.
Sri Lanka reached 190-5 at tea having been poorly placed at 50-5 after Kiwi seam bowlers led by Tim Southee grabbed four quick wickets in the morning.
Mathews was unbeaten on 76 at the break off 134 deliveries, hitting a six and 12 boundaries. Jayawardene faced 129 deliveries and hit a six and eight boundaries for his 68 not out.
Their partnership took 41 overs.
Southee had best bowling figures 4-43 but the Kiwis toiled hard with no success through the second session with a ball that had lost its shine and a settled pitch.
Southee blasted through Sri Lanka's top order taking three wickets in the morning session and leaving the hosts fighting from being dismisses cheaply.
Resuming at 9 for 1, the Sri Lankan batsmen were tested by New Zealand seamers Southee and Trent Boult who used the early moisture on the pitch and the new ball to good effect.
Southee dismissed overnight batsmen Tharanga Paranavitana (0) and nightwatchman Suraj Randiv (9) inside three overs of the morning session and later had Thilan Samaraweera (17) lbw to finish with 4-19.
Paranavitana lasted only four deliveries before Southee bowled the left-hander with swinging delivery, while Randiv survived some close lbw appeals and was dropped once before being caught by Martin Guptill at slip off Southee.
Boult dismissed Kumar Sangakkara for five caught by Brendon McCullum at slip.
Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera shared 30 runs for the fifth wicket before Samaraweera was adjudged lbw by South African umpire Marais Erasmus off a Southee delivery, which television replays showed the ball striking high on the leg and outside the line of off stump. Samaraweera's dismissal left Sri Lanka precariously placed at 50-5 before Jayawardene and his deputy Mathews.
New Zealand was dismissed for 221 in its first innings with McCullum top scoring with 68.
Sri Lankan left-arm spinner Rangana Herath returned 5-65, his 11th five-wicket haul in test cricket.