Sri Lanka will be one bowler down in the second innings with allrounder Gunaratne doing his hamstring in the field. Upul Tharanga was accruing runs easily, allowing Dimuth Karunaratne, his opening partner, to take his time getting settled.
The hosts still trail Zimbabwe by 279 runs.
Karunaratne advocated the need for Sri Lanka to remain positive in their approach, citing the obvious threat of going into a shell. Zimbabwe resumed its second innings with a slender 10-run first innings lead but soon found itself five down for 59 in its second innings. We've got two spinners in the XI, so I think we'll be able to get them out for an average score or below.
"We got a good start, but after that Cremer bowled really well".
Sikandar Raza led the way with a career-best innings as Zimbabwe produced a superb lower-middle-order recovery to forge a position of unexpected strength on day three of their sole Test with Sri Lanka in Colombo on Sunday.
Cremer, who had got Kusal Mendis caught behind for 11 before tea, struck twice in the final session of play to put the hosts in trouble at 238-6.
"If we can get another 100 runs that will give us a good chance to win this Test", Waller, whose side eye their first-ever Test win over Sri Lanka, added.
Graeme Cremer took three wickets for the visitors who then ran out Dilruwan Perera late in the day to make it an even contest.
But Raza dug in for stumps, making 97 not out from number six and forging momentum-shifting partnerships with Peter Moor (40) and Malcolm Waller (57no). With wickets tumbling at one-end and the pitch slowing down giving sharp turn and bounce, it was all left to former skipper Mathews to bring some respectability to the innings.
Raza, 31, combined the right dose of caution and aggression to thwart the Sri Lankan bowling attack during his 205-ball stay laced with nine fours and a six.