Johannesburg, July 28 : 21-year-old Kusal Mendis struck his maiden century to put Sri Lanka back into the contention on a gripping third day of the opening Test against Australia at the Pallekele International Stadium in Kandy on Thursday.
Sri Lanka currently hold a significant 196-run lead over the world number one Test side as the hosts were 282-6 in their second innings when bad light ended the day's play prematurely.
Mendis, who came to the crease when Sri Lanka were reeling at 6-2, displayed composure and resilience in his unbeaten 169-run innings, which also featured 20 boundaries.
In the process, the young batsman also made the highest score by any Sri Lankan against Australia at home, Sport24 reported.
Despite reducing Sri Lanka for 86-4, Australian bowlers failed to mount more pressure on the hosts as Mendis received strong support from Dinesh Chandimal (42) and then Dhananjaya de Silva (36) to lift his side from a precarious position.
Earlier, Australia made 203 in reply to Sri Lanka's first innings score of 117. Both sides will also play against each other in Galle and Colombo to complete the three-match series.