Galle (Sri Lanka): Mahela Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews batted through the morning session of the fourth day of the first Test on Saturday to frustrate Australia.
The overnight pair put on 119 for the sixth wicket as Sri Lanka, chasing an improbable target of 379 to win on a crumbling wicket, moved to 187-5 by lunch at the Galle International Stadium.
Jayawardene, 34, was unbeaten on 90 with the help of 15 boundaries and a six and looked on course for his 29th Test century.
Mathews, 10 years younger than his partner, showed why he is regarded as one of the most exciting young talents in the modern game as he chipped in with 66 not out.
The partnership made amends for the home team`s poor batting earlier in the match, when Sri Lanka were shot out for 105 in the first innings and reduced to 68-5 in the second.
But Australia continue to hold the edge as they press for victory in the opening encounter of the three-Test series, their first in Sri Lanka since 2004.
Sri Lanka had added six runs to their overnight score of 120-5 when heavy rain interrupted play for an hour.