Pathum Nissanka struck a century on debut as Sri Lanka set the West Indies a target of 375 to win the first Test in Antigua.
The hosts reached 34 at stumps earlier this morning, with nine wickets still in hand.
Vishwa Fernando made the only breakthrough when John Campbell edged the left-arm fast bowler to wicket-keeper Niroshan Dickwella.
Captain Kraigg Brathwaite and Nkrumah Bonner were unbeaten on 8 and 15 respectively.
Nissanka struck six boundaries in a patient innings, reaching his maiden century having faced 240 deliveries.
The 22-year-old, among the most prolific batsmen in the country’s domestic cricket over the last two seasons, joined Brendon Kuruppu, Romesh Kaluwitharana and Thilan Samaraweera as Sri Lanka’s only centurions on Test debut.
While Nissanka, who has the makings of a batsman who could prove to be a rare success from an oft-maligned domestic structure, reached a maiden century in just his second Test innings, wicket-keeper batsman Dickwella was left searching for his first ton.
He came the closest he’s ever come in his 42-Test career, four runs shy of the mark, having benefitted from slices of luck but dragged on Kemar Roach’s cleverly disguised slower ball on to the stumps.
He was however involved in a 179-run partnership with Nissanka which was the highest sixth-wicket stand for Sri Lanka in the West Indies, with the pair coming together in the first over of the day after Dhananjaya de Silva was bowled by Alzarri Joseph for 50.
After that early breakthrough the Windies bowlers had to wait till the second over of the third session for their next wicket, as Nissanka and Dickwella defied for what was effectively two full sessions.
But with Nissanka’s wicket in the second over after tea, Sri Lanka lost their last four wickets for just 38 runs attempting to fatten the lead over the hosts.