Captain Kraigg Brathwaite led from the front on Monday as he scored an unbeaten 99 to help the West Indies to 287-7 at close on the first day of the second Test against Sri Lanka.
An unbeaten 65-run partnership with Rahkeem Cornwall handed the impetus to the hosts after the battle between the two teams had see-sawed through the day.
Brathwaite batted cautiously while more adventurous team mates fell around him after Sri Lanka had won the toss and put their hosts into bat.
He survived a massive chance when he was on 37. A healthy edge to a Vishwa Fernando delivery was dropped at third slip by Oshada Fernando when the Windies were 113-3.
Sri Lanka opening bowler Suranga Lakmal made early inroads, taking the wickets of John Campbell (5) and Nkrumah Bonner (0) in the morning session and piling on the pressure with six successive maidens.
Kyle Mayers scored 49 off 61 balls and put on 71 runs with Brathwaite for the third wicket.
Jermaine Blackwood (18) and Jason Holder (30) departed before tea and wicketkeeper Joshua da Siva hung around for 35 balls but made just one run before being caught behind off Dushmantha Chameera.
Alzarri Joseph also batted with aggression before being trapped lbw by Lasith Embuldeniya for 29, having been dropped just an over earlier, but it was Cornwall who saw his skipper to the cusp of his century.
The giant spinner, batting at No.9, bludgeoned a rapid fire 43 off 54 balls to frustrate the tiring bowlers in the last 90 minutes of play while a patient Brathwaite refused to be rushed into reaching a ninth test century.
Lakmal returned best figures of 3-71 off 20 overs in hot and humid conditions.
The first Test, also at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, ended in a draw.