Sri Lankan batsmen led by their number three Kavindu Kulasekara provided stiff resistance against the Indian bowlers as the hosts finished the third day's play on 235 for five as the first 'Youth Test' looks set to be heading for a tame draw in Dambulla, on Thursday.
The 17-year-old right-hander Kulasekara played a dogged innings of 76 as none of the India U-19 bowlers were able to break his defence.
Starting the day at five, Kulasekara only added 71 runs to his overnight score throughout the day. In total, he faced 264 deliveries and hit only five boundaries. Hashan Dumindu (42) and Minod Bhanuka (56) also made useful contributions but more importantly defied the Indian attack which could only get four wickets in the entire day's play.
Left-arm seamer Kuldeep Yadav (4/86 in 33 overs) took all the wickets to fall on the day whereas the others failed to impress.
Sri Lanka need another 119 runs to reach 354 which will enable them to avoid the follow-on. India will now require to not only enforce follow-on but also take 15 wickets to push for a victory but it looks unlikely on the placid track at Dambulla.
The day started with Dumindu and Kulasekara adding 76 runs for the second wicket but importantly consumed close to 43 overs before Dumindu was caught by Shubham Khajuria.
Sadeera Samarawickrama (17) was clean bowled by Yadav making it 115 for three. But then came another gritty partnership between Kulasekara and Bhanuka who faced 100 balls to hit eight fours and a six. The duo played out nearly 30 overs.
Off-break bowler Aamir Gani who bowled 32 overs gave only 57 runs but wasn't penetrative enough. Finally, Bhanuka fell to Yadav caught by Akhil Herwadkar. Yadav got his fourth victim when Khajuria took his second catch to dismiss Thilaksha Sumansiri (8).
India 1st innings 503/7d
Sri Lanka 1st innings 235/5 in 104 overs (Kavindu Kulasekara 76 batting, Minod Bhanuka 56, Kuldeep Yadav 4/86).