Mendis hit a century to keep India at bay in the second innings after skipper Kohli enforced the follow-on. Photograph: (AFP)
Mendis hit a century studded with 16 boundaries to lead the fightback with opener Karunaratne giving him company at the other end.
Sri Lanka were 209 for 2 at stumps still trailing India's first innings score by 230 runs on day three in the second Test match at Colombo on Saturday.
The Lankan batsmen led by centurion Mendis and Karunaratne battled hard against the rampant India bowlers after they dismissed the hosts for a paltry 183 in the first innings.
Earlier in the day, the Indian bowlers led by India's all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin tore through the Sri Lankan batting line-up.
Sri Lankan batsmen began the third day at 50/2 but could not hold their own against Ashwin who picked up another five-wicket haul to dismiss Sri Lanka for a paltry 183 in reply to India's mammoth 622/9 declared.
Ashwin was ably assisted by other bowlers Shami(2wickets), Jadeja(2 wickets) Yadav(1 wicket) as the Lankan batsmen struggled on their home ground at Colombo. Lankan wicket-keeper Dickwella was the only batsman to resist India hitting a quickfire 51 in 48 balls with seven boundaries and a six as the other batsmen failed to keep Ashwin & Co at bay.
Virat Kohli enforced the follow-on inviting the Lankans to bat again. The hosts lost their opener Tharanga early but Karunaratne and Mendis stitched a partnership together taking the Lankans to 190/1 post-tea.
Mendis hit a century studded with 16 boundaries to lead the fightback with opener Karunaratne who remained unbeaten at stumps on 92(12 boundaries).
Sri Lanka will begin Day-4 completely on the backfoot trying to avoid another humiliation as Ashwin & Co eye another Test victory on Lankan soil under captain Virat Kohli.
Ashwin dismissed the Lankan openers on Day-2 of the Colombo Test. (AFP)