Happy days: Tendulkar and Sehwag share a joke at the close [AFP]

Virender Sehwag led India's bold reply to Sri Lanka's first innings of 425 with an unbeaten 97 on the second day of the third and final Test in Colombo.

Sehwag cracked 17 fours, 11 of them off left-arm pacer Chanaka Welegadara, as India reached 180 for two.

Sachin Tendulkar, making a record 169th Test appearance, was unbeaten on 40.

Earlier, Thilan Samaraweera eased to a 12th Test hundred and was unbeaten on 137 when Sri Lanka's final wicket fell.

Lasith Malinga gave Sri Lanka the breakthrough in the 11th over when Murali Vijay lofted an easy catch to mid-on with his score on 14.

Hot return

Angelo Mathews then got rid of Rahul Dravid for 23 trapping him leg before, but in his next over he put down a hot return catch offered by Sehwag with his score on 52.

Sehwag and Tendulkar had so far added 88 for the third wicket.

Samaraweera had reached his century in the final over before lunch, moving from 99 to 104 courtesy of an overthrow as he pushed the ball for a single to square leg but the return to the bowler's end ricocheted off the stumps and sped to the boundary.

Sri Lanka lost their last four wickets for 44 runs after lunch with Ishant Sharma ending the innings with the wickets of Ajantha Mendis and Chanaka Welagedara.

The hosts lead the series 1-0.

Source: Reuters