(CNN) -- Sachin Tendulkar became the most-capped player in Test cricket on Tuesday as India began their battle to level the three-match series against Sri Lanka.
The 37-year-old, known as the "Little Master," took the field in the five-day format for the 169th time as he surpassed the mark set by former Australia captain Steve Waugh.
Tendulkar did not have the immediate chance to add to his records of 48 Test centuries and 13,742 runs as Sri Lanka won the toss and decided to bat first at Colombo.
The hosts reached 293-4 at the end of the opening day, with captain Kumar Sangakkara top-scoring on 75 and Thilan Samaraweera unbeaten on 65, while Mahela Jayawardene contributed 56.
Opener Tharanga Paranavitana fell to Ishant Sharma for eight with the score at just 15, but Tillakaratne Dilshan added 87 with Sangakkara before falling just before the lunch break.
Dilshan made 41 off 70 balls before being run out by close fielder Murali Vijay.
Sangakkara was dropped on 23 by Suresh Raina off the bowling of Abhimanyu Mithun, but became the first of left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha's two victims on 157 when he was caught trying to loft down the ground.
Samaraweera was then joined by Angelo Mathews (26), and they added an unbroken 53 against an Indian attack missing injured spinner Harbhajan Singh.
The tourists, who lost the first match and drew the second, conceded 22 extras and Harbhajan's replacement Amit Mishra was warned twice for running on the pitch.
Meanwhile, former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff has been ruled out for the rest of his country's domestic season as plans for his comeback from long-term knee problems ground to a halt.
The 32-year-old has not played since the last Ashes match against Australia almost a year ago, when he retired from Test cricket to concentrate on limited-overs competitions.
He has had two knee operations but is not yet ready to return, so will miss next month's Twenty20 Champions Trophy in South Africa with his Indian Premier League club Chennai Super Kings.