India inched towards victory even as Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews staged a desperate battle to prolong Sri Lanka’s struggle with the hosts posting 82/4 in their second innings at lunch on the third day of the third cricket Test here on Monday.
At lunch, Chandimal was batting on 26 with Mathews on a patient 17 at the other end. They have put together an unbeaten partnership of 43 runs in 20.5 overs.
The hosts, who were forced to follow on, trail India’s first innings total of 487 by 270 runs. Sri Lanka were all out for 135 runs in their first innings.
For India, fast bowler Mohammed Shami clinched two wickets while fellow pacer Umesh Yadav and star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bagged a wicket each.
Starting at the overnight score of 19/1, Sri Lanka were off a horrible start, losing three wickets within the first hour of play. The hosts were reduced to 39/4 before Chandimal and Mathews started their fight back.
This is the first ever instance that the entire Sri Lankan top order has been dismissed within 50 runs in both innings of a Test match against India.
The hosts suffered their first jolt in the third over of the day when overnight batsman Dimuth Karunaratne was outfoxed by the extra bounce of an Ashwin delivery. The ball brushed the gloves before being caught by Ajinkya Rahane in the slips.
Malinda Pushpakumara patiently battled 32 deliveries for his one run before being caught behind off Shami’s bowling. The right-hander was repeatedly beaten outside the off-stump by Shami, by managed to survive somehow.
His luck finally ran out when he came on the front foot to a fuller length delivery on the off-stump line, only to see the ball knick the outside edge of the bat on its way into the gloves of Indian wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha.
Shami then sent back Kusal Mendis in his next over to put the Sri Lankans in deep trouble.
Sri Lanka: 135 & 82/4 (Dinesh Chandimal 26 batting, Angelo Mathews 17 batting; Mohammed Shami 2/20) vs India (first innings): 487.