Vastavam web: India hurtled towards their ninth successive series victory as they left Sri Lanka precariously placed at 31 for three and staring at another humiliation in the third and final Test here on Tuesday.The visiting Lankans were set an improbable victory target of 410 to level the three-match series. It will be a miracle if Sri Lanka manage to make it.The pitch has not deteriorated much but it is the straighter deliveries from the spinners that is causing maximum damage.
Mohammed Shami (1/8 in 3 overs), who was unwell after a three-over burst, bowled a hostile spell and accounted for Sadeera Samarawickrama (5).
A barrage of short deliveries unnerved the opener, who was hit on the temple while fielding in India’s first innings.The ever-accurate Ravindra Jadeja (5-2-5-2) had Dimuth Karunaratne caught behind, giving Wriddhiman Saha his fifth catch of the match. The decision to send Suranga Lakmal (0) as nighwatchman backfired as he played on while trying a forward defensive prod.
Skipper Virat Kohli (50 off 58 balls), Rohit Sharma (50 off 49 balls) and Shikhar Dhawan (67 off 91 balls) made useful contributions as India declared at 246 for five, with an overall lead of 409 runs.Kohli had only three fours but ran brilliantly between the wickets along with Rohit, who, among his five boundaries, had a gorgeous pull-shot to his credit. The moment he reached his sixth consecutive half-century in Tests, Kohli signaled for a declaration.
It was Pujara, whose uncharacteristic batting set the tone for India in the second innings. The Saurashtra batsman was even more attacking than Dhawan, whose innings had five fours and a six down the ground off chinaman Lakshan Sandakan.Dhawan completed his half century off 82 balls, taking a single off Sandakan. He was dismissed by the chinaman when he tried to loft him for his second six, stumped by Dickwella.
What stood out like a sore thumb was another failure from Ajinkya Rahane, whose woeful run continued.Kohli promoted Rahane (10) to give him enough time to settle down and bat his way out of form. However, desperation to hit his way out of trouble brought about Rahane’s downfall.He stepped out to Dilruwan Perera and the lofted shot found Lakshan Sandakan at the long-on boundary.Earlier, courtesy skipper Dinesh Chandimal’s career-best 164, Sri Lanka scored 373 in their first essay, conceding a 163-run lead to the hosts. Ishant Sharma (3/98) got Chandimal to wrap up the Lankan innings.The Sri Lankan players once again wore anti-pollution masks from the start of the Indian second innings due to the prevailing pollution in the national capital.