Sri Lanka was five wickets away from a series win after Bangladesh was restricted to 177 for five at stumps on day four of the second Test here on Sunday.
Chasing a daunting 437, the Bangladesh batsmen were troubled by Sri Lanka spinners Praveen Jayawickrama and Ramesh Mendis who took the five wickets on a crumbling wicket.
Sri Lanka set Bangladesh 437 by declaring its second innings on 194 for nine. No team has reached such a large target in Test history.
The greatest run chase is the 418 made by the West Indies against Australia in 2003 in Antigua. The most successful run chase here is 382 by Pakistan in 2015.
Should Bangladesh succeed in forcing a draw with 150 overs left in the game, Sri Lanka risks falling to its lowest world ranking.
Bangladesh, which is down to its last recognised pair, needs another 260 to win with one full day’s play left.
Sri Lanka declared its second innings after lunch on 194 for nine and Bangladesh finished on 111 for three at tea.
Mendis claimed the big wicket of Tamim Iqbal when he was caught behind by Niroshan Dickwella for 24. Debutante Jayawickrama, who took six in the first innings, accounted for Saif Hassan and Najmul Shanto.
The delivery that dismissed Shanto pitched outside off stump, spun sharply, went through bat and pad and hit the top of leg-stump.
After tea, Bangladesh lost captain Mominul Haque, who chopped a Mendis delivery onto his stumps to leave his side struggling at 134 for four.
Earlier, Dimuth Karunaratne top-scored with 66 as Sri Lanka declared on 194 for nine. The Sri Lankan captain finished the series with 428 runs in three innings, having scored a double hundred, a hundred and a half-century.
Bangladesh left-arm spinner Taijul Islam bagged his eighth five-wicket haul, for 72.
The scores: Sri Lanka 493/7 decl. and 194/9 decl. (Dimuth Karunaratne 66, Dhananjaya de Silva 41, Taijul Islam 5/72) vs Bangladesh 251 and 177/5 (Mushfiqur Rahim 40, Ramesh Mendis 3/86).