Though India couldn’t add much to their overnight score and ended up at 312 all out, they ran through the early part of the Sri Lankan innings. At 47 for 6, Sri Lanka looked like heading to a disastrous first innings’ finish but once again the much-hyped bowling couldn’t complete the kill. The last four Sri Lanka wickets were allowed to add 154 and the stranglehold was released. Though India still obtained the 111-run first innings lead, they slumped to 21/3 in the second innings. After drumming up the noise about an overseas series win, India have pushed themselves to a Galle-test like situation. On the crease now are the last of India’s specialist batsmen and the way the pitch is behaving, it is anybody’s game. In a dramatic day, 15 wickets fell in the course of 65.1 overs, of which India took 10 but they lost 5 themselves. The loss of the last three wickets has yielded the advantage to the hosts. Now the key lies on India’s batting on Monday morning. If Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma carry on, then there is hope for India with the effective lead of 132. If they succumb to Sri Lanka like they did in the Galle test second innings, the hosts have the power to turn the tide.
After India added 20 runs on the third day morning, they lost the remaining two wickets. Cheteshwar Pujara carried his bat through the innings and remained not out on 145. When Sri Lanka came out to bat, India derived the early advantage. Ishant Sharma extracted a thick outside edge from Upul Tharanga’s bat and Lokesh Rahul took a fine diving catch. 11/1 became 11/2 three balls later, when Kaushal Silva needlessly dragged a short ball from Umesh Yadav onto his stumps. Dinesh Chandimal struck five boundaries and created a bit of scare for India. But he fell as the third wicket after scoring 23 off 27 balls. It was a questionable LBW as Stuart Binny’s in-swinger had struck on the thigh pad of Chandimal’s back leg. He stood there for a while but had to go as umpire Rod Tucker raised his finger. After that Binny also dismissed Dimuth Karunaratne and Ishant Sharma removed Lahiru Thirimanne and Angelo Mathews. As Sri Lanka tottered at 47/6, India missed a great opportunity, when Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Stuart Binny couldn’t exert the pressure. This allowed Kushal Perera and Rangana Herath to take the score to 127 before Perera got out. Every Sri Lankan bowler batted and the final score reached 201 all out.
After failing to prevent the last four Sri Lanka batsmen from adding 154, India began their second innings miserably. Last innings’ unbeaten centurion Cheteshwar Pujara was bowled on the second ball that he faced in the first over and Lokesh Rahul was bowled in the same fashion as his first innings dismissal. He shouldered arms and allowed the ball to pass and for the second time in the match, Rahul’s defensive stance allowed the seaming ball to find a free path to the stumps. India’s score of 2/2 became 7/3, when Ajinkya Rahane was caught in the crease by an in-swinger from Nuwan Pradeep. The fluctuation of fortunes brought India to a pathetic stage after they held the Sri Lankans by their throats. Before the draw of stumps on third day, Kohli had played 10 balls for his 1 run and Rohit Sharma aggressively added 14 from 10. The course of the test match will now be dictated by the manner, in which Kohli and Sharma bat from now onwards. Anything less than a 300-run lead could easily boomerang on India.
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