The Black Caps have struck back with three late wickets as Sri Lanka ended a rain-hit first day of the second Test in Hamilton on 7-264.
Both teams had wanted to bat first on a Seddon Park pitch with plenty of grass and seamer Tim Southee admitted the Black Caps probably didn't use the conditions as well as they could have early on.
The hosts managed to get some deliveries to beat the bat in the opening session, but hadn't been able to create enough pressure.
"Luckily we clawed our way back," he said. "I think we were looking at probably a day that hadn't gone according to plan and that last 20 minutes really dragged us back in."
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Sri Lanka had been in good shape during the final session at 4-259 and with skipper Angelo Mathews and Milinda Siriwardana compiling a record partnership.
But with the stand at 138, five higher than the previous best by a Sri Lanka pair for the fifth wicket against New Zealand, Siriwardana fell for 62.
Trent Boult had the left-hander caught in the slips and three balls later claimed the scalp of new batsman Kithuruwan Vithanage for a duck.
Two overs later, Kane Williamson's direct hit ran out Rangana Herath and Sri Lanka had lost three wickets for five runs.
When rain halted play shortly after with no addition to the score and with 23 overs left in the day, Mathews was unbeaten on 63.
Sri Lanka's batting was more aggressive than in their 122-run loss in the opening Test in Dunedin.
Siriwardana, whose score was his second half-century in his five-Test career, was delighted at his record stand with Matthews.
"I'm very happy with me and Angie getting that,"he said. "We tried to bat through the innings. We tried to get 50 and then another."
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Southee was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers and he claimed the wickets of openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis, both caught by wicketkeeper BJ Watling.
That brought Udara Jayasundera and Dinesh Chandimal together at 2-44 and the pair combined for a 71-run partnership broken with Jayasundera's run out for 26 in a mix-up.
Six runs later, Chandimal went for 47, caught behind off a Doug Bracewell delivery.
That left the tourists precariously placed at 4-121 and Mathews and Siriwardana set out consolidating the innings.
With the pair settling in, the Black Caps resorted to some short-pitched bowling to try to unsettle them.
Mathews' response included hooking one Neil Wagner ball over the rope.
His second six back over left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner brought up his fifty and the century partnership.
Siriwardana reached his own half-century in style as well, driving a Bracewell delivery to the boundary.