Sri Lanka reached 85-2 after losing the wickets of Lahiru Thirimanne and Kusal Mendis on a rain-truncated opening day in the second and final Test against New Zealand in Colombo on Thursday.
Captain Dimuth Karunaratne continued his rich vein of form to remain unbeaten on 49 with Angelo Mathews yet to score as only 36.3 overs of play were possible due to rain and bad light.
The hosts, who won the opening Test in Galle by six wickets, made a watchful start after Karunaratne won the toss and opted to bat after a lengthy delay in the morning.
New Zealand's seamers had no joy with the new ball and it was left to off-spinner William Somerville to strike the first blow when he dismissed Thirimanne for two.
Karunaratne, who struck a match-winning 122 in the second innings in Galle, and Mendis kept the touring side at bay with a partnership of 50 for the second wicket before the latter fell for 32 to seam bowling all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme.
Both teams made one change from the first Test with New Zealand bringing in De Grandhomme for specialist spinner Mitchell Santner.
The hosts drafted in off-spinner Dilruwan Perera for Akila Dananjaya, who was reported by the umpires for a suspect bowling action after his six-wicket match haul in Galle.