Colombo:Hosts Sri Lanka seized control of the third and final cricket Test on Thursday after they demolished India's batting might on the third day.
India, chasing Sri Lanka's first innings total of 425, slipped from their overnight score of 180-2 to 378-7 by tea at the P. Sara Oval.
The top-ranked Indians, seeking a series-levelling victory following the 10-wicket defeat in the first Test, will resume after the break still 47 runs behind with just three wickets in hand.
Abhimanyu Mithun was unbeaten on 26 and Amit Mishra was on 12 at the break.
Venkatsai Laxman and Suresh Raina hit half-centuries during a fifth-wicket stand of 105 after India were reduced to 199-4 within the first 30 minutes of play.
Unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis dismissed both batsmen in the space of three overs after lunch to put Sri Lanka on top.
Laxman edged a catch to Mahela Jayawardene in the slips after making 56, while Raina played an uppish drive to Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara at mid-wicket.
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was hit on the fingers by a rising ball from Lasith Malinga, made 15 when he was caught behind trying to hook the same bowler.
Earlier, India suffered quick blows when veteran Sachin Tendulkar was dismissed in the day's first over and century-maker Virender Sehwag in the sixth, both falling to reckless shots.
Tendulkar slashed at Malinga's sixth delivery and edged an easy catch to wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardene.
The world's leading run-getter, making a record 169th Test appearance, scored 41 in a third-wicket stand of 91 with Sehwag.
Sehwag, who was on 97 overnight, reached his 21st hundred in the second over by pulling off-spinner Suraj Randiv for his 18th boundary.
But Randiv had the last laugh as Sehwag hit out against a flighted ball and top-edged the skier to Chanaka Welegedara in the covers.
Sehwag's 109 would have given him a hundred in each of his last five Tests, had he not been dismissed for 99 in the previous match at the Sinhalese Sports Club.
The robust opener made 109 in the first Test in Galle, and 165 and 109 in the two home Tests against South Africa in February.