Sachin Tendulkar posted his 48th Test century to inspire an India fightback on day three of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo.
The 'Little Master' ended the day unbeaten on 108 to ensure the tourists reached the close of play on 382-4 - trailing their opponents by 260 first-innings runs.
Tendulkar shared an unbroken 141-run partnership with debutant Suresh Raina (66 not out) after openers Virender Sehwag and Murali Vijay (58) had both notched half-centuries.
There was heartache for Sehwag, though, the aggressive right-hander falling one run short of his 21st Test century when he was stumped off Suraj Randiv's first ball of the day.
His dismissal sparked a mini-collapse as opening partner Vijay and veteran Rahul Dravid (3) followed him back to the pavilion before lunch.
VVS Laxman then became Ajantha Mendis' second victim of the day after the interval, however leading Test match run-scorer of all time Tendulkar and Raina dug in to ensure India's hopes of snatching a draw remain intact.
India had begun the day on 95 without loss and Sehwag maintained his aggressive approach from the start, smashing Dilhara Fernando for consecutive boundaries in the second over of the day.
Another boundary, this time from Vijay off the bowling of Mendis (2-92), brought up his second Test half-century in style.
With the score on 165-0 and Sehwag poised on 99, off-spinner Randiv (2-108) then entered the attack and claimed a dream scalp on debut.
Attempting to bring up his milestone in style, Sehwag was completely beaten in the flight and wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene whipped off the bails with the right-hander short of his ground.
Mendis then stepped up to the plate to deal India a further blow, trapping Vijay lbw for 58.
And, with Sri Lanka on the attack, Randiv was celebrating again when a quicker delivery had Dravid lbw moments before lunch.
Tendulkar and Laxman batted together for the majority of the second session, the pair adding 68 runs before Mendis made another telling breakthrough.
Laxamn, who made a painful 29 off 98 balls, was outfoxed by a googly and trapped lbw in front of middle stump.
Tendulkar passed his half-century in the final session though, and, in partnership with Raina, silenced the Colombo crowd with a much-needed stand.
The pair found the boundary at regular intervals as Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara struggled to find a bowling partnership capable of stemming the flow of runs.
Tendulkar, seemingly in a hurry to bring up three figures before the close of play, lifted his helmet to celebrate his ninth century on Sri Lankan soil with a powerful sweep off Randiv.
Raina also brought up a landmark, the left-hander passing 50 for the first time in Test cricket before going on to reach stumps well set on 66 not out.