Colombo:India dismissed both the openers in the first session even as Sri Lanka faired decently to reach 102 for two at lunch on the opening day of the third and final Test here on Tuesday.
Tillakaratne Dilshan (41) was run out at the stroke of lunch while Tharanga Paranavitana (8) became a victim of young pacer Ishant Sharma early in the innings.
Skipper Kumar Sangakkara, dropped on 23, was batting on 48 and will resume the innings with a new partner at P Sara Oval.
It could have been different for India had Suresh Raina, proffered over Yuvraj Singh, not dropped Sangakkara off Abimanyu Mithun.
The Karnataka pacer, bowling around the wicket, induced an edge which flew in the slip cordon straight to second slip VVS Laxman but Raina lunged on the chance from the left and in utter confusion the opportunity was lost.
The young Indian pace duo did a much better job, with the track being a little helpful in morning conditions.
Ishant bowled fast, troubled batsmen and got the wicket of Paranavitana, who edged one to Dhoni behind the wicket as early as in the fourth over of the innings.
Unlike the first two Tests, Ishant and Mithun did succeed initially to contain the batsmen but once the Lankans got their eye in they were at their usual best.
Dilshan smashed Ishant for two cracking boundaries and Kumar Sangakkara hit Amit Mishra, who came in for injured Harbhajan Singh, for a four and a six to break the shackles.
Together they raised a 87-run stand, which ended with a brilliant piece of work by Murali Vijay in the close fielding position.
Dilshan pushed one off Pragyan Ojha and left his crease anticipating that Vijay, at silly point, will not be able to stop the ball.
But a full stretched Vijay succeeded in clutching the ball threw it towards Dhoni, who took off the bails in no time and left Dilshan bamboozled.
Dilshan hit four fours in his 70-ball knock while Sangakkara faced 65 balls and helped himself with four fours and a six.
Earlier, Dhoni lost his third successive toss and India were forced to bowl in batting friendly conditions.