AHMEDABAD: Former captain Mahela Jayawardene hit an unbeaten 142 as Sri Lanka marched towards a big first innings lead in the first Test against India here on Wednesday.

The tourists went to tea on the third day at 483-5, a lead of 57 runs over India's 426, with five wickets in hand on a good batting pitch at the Motera stadium.

Jayawardene, who quit as captain earlier this year to concentrate on his batting, has so far hit 12 boundaries and a six in his 27th Test century, his first on Indian soil.

Sri Lanka, who were 375-5 at lunch, did not lose a wicket in the afternoon session as Prasanna Jayawardene (43 not out) helped his senior partner add 108 for the unbroken sixth wicket.

The Indian bowlers toiled in vain under the hot sun as the barren pitch offered no assistance to either the fast bowlers or the spinners.

The spinners proved the most expensive with Harbhajan Singh going for 1-138 in 35 overs and Amit Sharma returning wicketless at the cost of 125 runs from 30 overs.

Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera, who resumed at the overnight score of 275-3, put on 138 for the fourth wicket to build on opener Tillakaratne Dilshan's century on the second day.

Samaraweera was dismissed for 70, but all-rounder Angelo Mathews helped Jayawardene add 43 for the fifth wicket before falling to a controversial decision in the last over before lunch.

Mathews, who made 17, was declared caught at forward short-leg by Australian umpire Daryl Harper even as replays showed the ball from Harbhajan bounce off the batsman's pad.

Earlier, Jayawardene and Samaraweera saw off 10 overs of spin before Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni claimed the second new ball as soon as it was due, in the 81st over with the total at 306.

The pair added 26 more runs when lanky seamer Ishant Sharma broke through as Samaraweera pulled a short ball to square-leg, where Yuvraj Singh moved quickly to his right to hold a smart catch.

Sri Lanka, looking for their first Test win on Indian soil, are playing three Tests, two Twenty20 matches and five one-day internationals on the seven-week tour.