Sri Lanka were still a sizeable 187 runs behind New Zealand's first innings score when bad light resulted in early stumps on day three of the second Test, the hosts sitting on 225 for six in Colombo.

Thilan Samaraweera and Suraj Randiv had batted for half the day to rescue the home side from collapse, putting on 97 runs in 36 overs after Tim Southee removed the day's openers in the morning session.

The Lankans started the day on 43 for three, with Tharanga Paranavitana on nine and Angelo Mathews on 20. They resisted the 17-over-old ball for the first hour, adding 59 runs to the score, before the ball was changed for a fourth time in the game.

Southee did the damage in the evening on day two, taking two wickets, and was again the star of the show in the morning, removing Paranavitana and Mathews. Both batsmen fell within reach of their half centuries.

Kiwi skipper Ross Taylor gave Paranavitana a second life, dropping him in the slips off Trent Boult, but the batsman could not take advantage and edged Southee a few overs later to Kruger van Wyk for 40.

Mathews made 47 off 111 balls, and then edged Southee as well, giving Martin Guptill a chance to shine as he took a blinding catch in the slips. This left Thilan Samaraweera, stitched hand and all, alongside Prasanna Jayawardene at the lunch break on 107 for five, still 305 runs behind.

The afternoon session was a bit more stable for the hosts as they lost only the one wicket, that of Prasanna Jayawardene for 12. He was caught by Kane Williamson off Jeetan Patel, leaving Samaraweera and Randiv to steady the innings.

The duo were in the middle at tea on 177 for six, having put on 49 together. Samaraweera was on 48 off 112 balls, while Randiv stuck manfully by him and made 14 at that stage.

The evening session was cut 25 overs short thanks to bad light, and in that time Samaraweera reached 76 off 156 balls, while Randiv had 34 off 102 deliveries, with only a handful of boundaries between them.

The Black Caps would have been disappointed with the day though, as they had the Lankans reeling on 12 for three at one point on day two, and then again on 103 for five in the afternoon of day three. They will hope to deliver the knock out blow early on day for in hopes of avoiding a draw.