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Indian skipper leave Sri Lanka gasping at 131 for 3 in reply to host’s 536 for 7

Indian skipper leave Sri Lanka gasping at 131 for 3 in reply to host’s 536 for 7

Kohli double lights up dramatic day

Air quality, Indian skipper leave Sri Lanka gasping at 131 for 3 in reply to host’s 536 for 7 declared.

Virat Kohli

The now familiar sight of Virat Kohli scoring a double-century, and the unfamiliar sight of play stopped due to air pollution were the talking points at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi on Sunday (December 3).

The pollution saga spiced up an otherwise dull rivalry, but what didn't change was the theme of Indian dominance. By stumps on the second day of the third and final Test, Sri Lanka was 131 for 3, still 405 behind, with Angelo Mathews (57) and Dinesh Chandimal (25) battling it out.

Much of the spotlight was trained around an unprecedented phase in the post-lunch session, with the Sri Lankans complaining of difficulty in breathing due to the poor quality of air. It resulted in their two fast bowlers leaving the field in discomfort, multiple stoppages of play, numerous discussions involving the umpires, the Sri Lankan team management and Ravi Shastri, the Indian head coach.

Ultimately, an agitated Kohli declared India's innings at 536 for 7 more than halfway through the second session, the Indian captain deciding that his team had enough runs on the board to attack Sri Lanka with.

The dramatic turn of events transpired in the second session when a few Sri Lankan players walked out after lunch donning masks. Kuldeep Yadav, the Indian substitute, had done likewise while delivering drinks in the first session.

First, Lahiru Gamage complained of discomfort while bowling, resulting in a stoppage of play for 16 minutes when the umpires and senior Sri Lankan cricketers discussed events on the field, even as an independent doctor had discussions with David Boon, the match referee.

It was decided that play would carry on, and the stoppage resulted in R Ashwin guiding the first ball after the break straight to gully. But there wasn't much joy for Gamage, who soon went off the field.

The distractions seemed to unsettle Kohli, who was trapped leg before by Lakshan Sandakan after a brilliant 243, despite a review by the batsman. Soon after Kohli's exit, Suranga Lakmal too went off the field, unable to complete his over, leaving Sri Lanka with just ten fit cricketers.

Two members of the Sri Lankan support staff quickly donned borrowed whites to come on as substitutes, but Kohli ended the drama by deciding to call his batsmen in.

All this almost shaded what happened prior to the spectacle, when Kohli dominated the day with his sixth double-ton in Test cricket, the most by a captain. Each of those six double-centuries has come in the last 18 months, indicating his hunger for big runs. That he scored those runs despite a stiff back in the morning showed his determination.

Sri Lanka would have hoped to continue from where it left off the previous evening when Sandakan struck twice. It took the second new ball in the 97th over after India resumed on 371 for 4 but Kohli greeted it by flicking Lakmal through mid-on for four. The harder ball travelled quicker to the ropes, and Kohli utilised the opportunity with glee, with good support from Rohit Sharma.

The dramatic turn of events transpired in the second session when the unfamiliar sight of play stopped due to air pollution.
The dramatic turn of events transpired in the second session when the unfamiliar sight of play stopped due to air pollution.

Battling a stiff back, Kohli slowed down a touch with his running but soon went past his double-century, pulling Lakmal for a couple.

Rohit fell in the last over of the first session when he chased and edged Sandakan to the wicketkeeper, paving the way for an eventful second session.

Sri Lanka's reply began with a peach from Mohammed Shami taking Dimuth Karunaratne's edge to Wriddhiman Saha behind the stumps off the very first ball. Ishant Sharma soon trapped Dhananjaya de Silva plumb in front, reducing Sri Lanka to 18 for 2 by tea.

India could have had a couple of more wickets soon after the break but shoddy slip catching denied them success. Shikhar Dhawan put down Dilruwan Perera, who opened in place of Sadeera Samarawickrama, off Shami and then Kohli dropped Mathews off Ishant. Samarawickrama had suffered from concussion after a blow on the helmet while fielding at short-leg on the first day.

The pace duo was in the midst of a terrific spell and had Mathews in particular jumping around. But the batsmen's confidence grew after the reprieves, resulting in a few nice shots.

Perera in particular was in an aggressive mood before he fell leg before to Ravindra Jadeja, a decision that came after a successful review by India.

Mathews carried on, taking Ashwin for two sixes in his first over to reach his half-century. He then ensured Sri Lanka ended the day without further damage, adding an unbeaten 56 with Chandimal.

Posted on 2017-12-04 00:33:22
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THE DAY'S QUOTE

“That was pathetic. No excuse at all. The whole team is responsible. Whoever the captain is, we have to back him and try and support him. The captain has to do so many other stuff. All the 11 guys must back him and support him.” “We have addressed the issue of finishing off the overs on time in the past as well, but it cropped up again. It’s so unfortunate to see Upul going out as he is a crucial player in our set up. He batted well against South Africa and it’s so unfortunate. This can’t happen again,” - Angelo Mathews

FEEDBACK/COMMENTS

Cricket is a game of fine margins and Mathews is set to be a modern great. Hang in their Angie, this team can achieve something on this tour. Thirimane and the youngsters form was a real positive. Prasad was missed. Chameera should be persisted with. If Bairstow was our early outcome could have been very different.

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