Sri Lanka led the West Indies by 153 runs with six second-innings wickets in hand by stumps on the third day of the first cricket Test.
On a day of changing fortunes, Sri Lanka first wrapped up the West Indies first innings for 271 — a lead of 102 over its own first innings of 169. Sri Lanka then reached stumps at 255-4.
Lahiru Thirimanne and Oshada Fernando kept up Sri Lanka's concerted fight back on Tuesday, batting the tourists into a strong position at 170-1. Thirimanne made 76 to follow his 70 in Sri Lanka's first innings and Fernando made 91 in a partnership of 162 for the second wicket from 301 balls.
Kyle Mayers then struck back for the West Indies, dismissing Fernando for his first wicket in tests, then adding the wicket of the out-of-form Dinesh Chandimal (4), both caught by wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva.
When Kemar Roach bowled Thirimanne, Sri Lanka was 189-4, 87 ahead, after having lost three quick wickets for 19 runs.
Dhananjaya de Silva and Pathum Nissanka then rallied Sri Lanka again, putting on 66 in an unbroken fifth wicket partnership by stumps. De Silva was 46 and Nissanka 21 at close of play.
Sri Lanka is working toward a strong position because the West Indies, who won the toss and bowled, face the task of batting last on a wearing pitch at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
"I think the wicket is a good one. It's flattened out nicely," Mayers said.
"Obviously they had the upper hand today but the game is still evenly poised.
"We're still in the game — 150-run lead. All we need is two early wickets tomorrow and then we're in with a chance."
Sri Lanka began the day by swiftly wrapping up the West Indies first innings, dismissing top-scorer Rahkeem Cornwall for 61.
The West Indies had early success with the new ball, removing Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne (3) when Sri Lanka was 8 in the fifth over.
Thirimanne and Fernando then stuck together for almost 51 overs to erase the first innings deficit and to bat Sri Lanka into a strong position. Fernando reached his second test half century from 84 balls and Thirimanne his seventh from 123 balls.
Mayers began his first class career as a bowling allrounder but has bowled less often recently after an ankle injury. He had bowled only 16 overs in two tests before Tuesday when his four overs returned 2-10.
Kemar Roach has 2-28.