Colombo:Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman put together an unbeaten 83-run partnership as India, chasing 257, inched towards a series-levelling win by reaching 145 for four at lunch on the fifth and final day of the third cricket Test against Sri Lanka here on Saturday.
At lunch, Tendulkar was batting on 50 after capitalising on a dropped catch while Laxman was steady with a chanceless 46-run knock in India's second innings, which stood at a precarious 53 for 3 at stumps on Friday.
Tendulkar's 50 just before lunch came in 106 balls and comprised three hits to the boundary. Laxman, on the other hand, sent down four boundaries in his 77-ball innings.
India suffered the first blow of the day when night-watchman Ishant Sharma (4) was caught at short mid-wicket by Kumar Sangakkara off Suraj Randiv in the morning.
Randiv, who ripped in a flighted loopy delivery around off and middle stump, bemused Sharma who looked shaky right from the start.
Later, Tendulkar was fortunate when he was dropped by Tillakaratne Dilshan at short leg while trying to push a Randiv turner.
The ball had gone of the bat and pad to the right of short-leg and Tendulkar, who was on just 18, heaved a huge sigh of relief when Dilshan spilled the opportunity.
The Indian right-hander attacked Randiv thereafter by charging down the track and driving a shot past the bowler for a boundary.
Laxman, on his part, played a delightful drive past Tendulkar at the other end as India began to recover from the early blows.
Laxman leaned forward to an Ajantha Mendis delivery from the middle stump and turned it on to the boundary, marking the 50-run partnership between the two which came in 92 balls.
Laxman then played a superb knock as he drove a Mendis turner between the short cover and short extra cover boundary.