Third Test, Colombo (P Sara Oval) (day four, close):
Sri Lanka 425 & 267 v India 436 & 53-3
Samaraweera followed his unbeaten 137 in the first innings with 83 in the second
India reached 53-3 after the fourth day of the third and final Test, having been set a target of 257 to beat Sri Lanka in Colombo and square the series.
Thilan Samaraweera (83) and tail-ender Ajantha Mendis (78) revived Sri Lanka's chances as they recovered from 125-8 to 267 all out in their second innings.
Spinner Suraj Randiv then claimed three early wickets, dismissing Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and Murali Vijay.
It leaves India still 203 behind going into the final day of the series.
Off-spinner Randiv, playing only his second Test, had Sehwag caught at slip by Mahela Jayawardene without scoring and bowled Dravid for seven.
Vijay was then caught at short leg by Jayawardene for 27 runs to give Randiv his third wicket.
Sachin Tendulkar was 11 not out at the close, with nightwatchman Ishant Sharma unbeaten on two.
Earlier, a spectacular partnership of 118 between Samaraweera and Mendis - a Sri Lanka Test record for the ninth wicket - had rescued the hosts from deep trouble at the P Sara Oval.
India's spinners had sparked a dramatic collapse in the morning session as five wickets fell for 24 runs to reduce the hosts to 87-7 after an hour's play.
But the last three wickets added 180 to frustrate the Indians as Samaraweera followed his century in the first innings with a fighting 83 in the company of tail-enders.
Samaraweera added 38 for the eighth wicket with Lasith Malinga (15), before his record stand with Mendis - who dramatically improved his highest Test score from 27 to 78, hitting 10 fours and a six.
India's three spinners, Pragyan Ojha, Amit Mishra and Sehwag, claimed three wickets each on a pitch that offered turn and bounce to the bowlers.
But they will look to Tendulkar, winning his world record 169th Test cap, to steer them towards victory on Saturday.