West Indies made a steady start in reaching 69-1 after bowling out Sri Lanka for 204 before rain forced an early end to day two of the second cricket Test on Tuesday.
Left-arm spinners Veerasammy Permaul and Jomel Warrican combined for nine Sri Lanka wickets with career-best performances.
When play was called, West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite was on 22 and Nkhrumah Bonner on 1. The tourists trailed Sri Lanka by 135 runs with nine wickets in hand.
Permaul, in his first test in more than five years, snared 5-35 to register his first five-wicket haul.
Warrican took 4-50, also a career best.
The pair ensured they reversed a good Sri Lanka start which featured a 106-run opening partnership. The last nine wickets went for 98 runs.
Sri Lanka resumed on 113-1, and Pathum Nissanka and Oshada Fernando added 26 more runs to the total before Permaul struck in the seventh over of the day. Fernando tried to play a cut shot close to his body and was caught behind by Joshua da Silva for 18.
Permaul took two wickets in one over, trapping Nissanka lbw for 73 to end an innings that lasted 148 deliveries and contained a six and five boundaries. Two deliveries later, he had Dhananjaya de Silva caught behind on 2.
Charith Asalanka, playing his first test, scored 10 before becoming Permaul’s next wicket, caught by Bonner.
Angelo Mathews walked off the field with an injury when he was on 12, but returned at the fall of the eighth wicket, even though he was still unable to run. He hit two sixes and a boundary before being bowled for 29 by Warrican and ending the Sri Lanka first innings.
The only West Indies wicket was taken by Sri Lanka’s own left-armer, Praveen Jayawickrama, who trapped Jermaine Blackwood for 44. He faced 99 balls and hit five boundaries and reviewed the decision unsuccessfully.
Rain is playing a big part in the match, with two sessions lost on the first day and a session’s worth of overs on Tuesday.
Sri Lanka won the first test by 187 runs at the same venue, and the West Indies must win the second to draw the series.