Ravindra Jadeja struck twice and Mohammed Shami once to leave Sri Lanka in trouble at close of play on Day 4 of the third Test against India. Put in to chase 410 runs with a day and nearly 20 overs to play, Sri Lanka didn’t hold out and lost wickets cheaply to throw in the towel early – by the look of things. The quick wickets further tightened India’s grasp on the Test at Feroz Shah Kotla. Dhananjaya de Silva and Angelo Mathews stood unbeaten when play was called off early due to fading light. They still need 379 runs more to get a surprise win.
India handed Sri Lanka a target of 410 runs which, given the recent matches between them, was more a case of the visitors getting four sessions to survive than to go out there and go for the kill. Sri Lanka trail the three-match series 0-1 with one day remaining in the series now.
Sri Lanka could have been one down but for umpire Nigel Llong’s decision to allow one more over to be bowled with light fading in the capital. And Jadeja struck twice in the final over of the day to leave Sri Lanka wounded with 90 overs to be bowled. First, Dimuth Karunaratne moved forward to to defend a topspinner but nicked it behind to keeper Wriddhiman Saha while playing for non-existent turn. Three balls later, nightwatchman Suranga Lakmal made a complete mess of his attempt at blocking a stump-to-stump delivery. He got the toe end of the bat and allowed for the ball to hit the stumps.
Shami began the attack on Sri Lanka with the wicket of Sadeera Samarawickrama in yet another example of searing pace and accuracy which would be welcomed by Virat Kohli and the rest of the side following announcement of the Test squad on Monday. On a dead surface with little support for the bowlers, Shami bowled two strong bounces – Sadeera evaded the first one but fell on the floor while going out of line. However, he couldn’t get out of the second as the ball kissed his glove before bouncing off the glove and falling kindly to the gully fielder.
Immediately after, the ugly nature of the Delhi pollution and smog came to the fore once again – affecting an India player this time. Shami vomitted, received medical treatment briefly before walking off the field. Earlier in the day, Suranga Lakmal had also puked and gone off the field. Sri Lanka players wore face masks as precuation from the onset.
Sri Lanka didn’t have to take the field for long with India taking 163-run first innings lead and then going through the paces in 50 overs and accumulating 246 runs with Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan getting well-deserved fifties. As the usual suspects delivered once again, troubles for Ajinkya Rahane continued while Murali Vijay exited the middle in uncharacteristic fashion.
Rahane was promoted to number three after Vijay fell cheaply but failed to make the most of the opportunity. He survived an appeal for leg before on 1 with the review coming to his rescue. But as he went on, the runs didn’t flow and the shots didn’t look comfortable. Eventually, his attempt at relaxing his arms, by coming down the track and going for a big hit failed to work out as he was holed on in the deep. His tally from the series read a miserable 17 runs.
In the morning session, Sri Lanka had one wicket to defend and Dinesh Chandimal began from 147 alongside Lakshan Sandakan to move towards his career best of 164 before becoming the last wicket to fall.