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India set Sri Lanka 410 to win final Test, SL 31 for 3 at stumps

Chasing 410 to win final Test and square series, visitor limps to 31 for 3 at stumps on penultimate day.

Ravinder Jadeja

It was the perfect day for India, as it left Sri Lanka battling for survival yet again. Set an improbable target of 410 to win the final Test and square the series, Sri Lanka ended the fourth day in New Delhi on 31 for 3, with Dhananjaya de Silva and Angelo Mathews in the middle.

The day panned out exactly as India would have hoped. It took the last remaining wicket early in the day to bowl Sri Lanka out for 373, and then its batsmen took over. Shikhar Dhawan (67), Virat Kohli (50) and Rohit Sharma (50*) scored half-centuries while Cheteshwar Pujara missed his by one run as India raced to 246 for 5 in 52.2 overs before calling its innings close.

India had a possible 29 overs to have a go at Sri Lanka but it could sneak in only 16 before bad light came into play. That period was enough for the host to get rid of Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dimuth Karunaratne and Suranga Lakmal, the nightwatchman. Sri Lanka will have to produce an encore of its first-innings performance if it is to save the game.

With plenty of runs to bowl with, Mohammed Shami set the tone with an incredibly hostile spell with the new ball that accounted for Samarawickrama. Shami hurled two unplayable bouncers at the opener, who managed to evade the first one before gloving the second to gully.

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India are well in control at stumps on Day 4, Jadeja striking twice in the final over of the day to leave Sri Lanka on 31/3, trailing by 378 runs 

 
 

Shami could not continue his spell thanks to poor light, and also had to leave the field as he was vomiting. It gave Ravindra Jadeja a chance, though, and the left-arm spinner responded by having Karunaratne caught behind and Lakmal bowled. He nearly had Dhananjaya de Silva too, but the batsman successfully revived a leg before decision.

The only blip for India was when it lost M Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane early. Once Vijay fell after a couple of boundaries, India gave the out of form Rahane a promotion to No. 3, but the move backfired as he struggled throughout for a 37-ball 10. He survived two leg before appeals on review and was generally tentative, finding it hard to rotate strike on a slow pitch against disciplined bowling.

With Dhawan too taking a more cautious approach, the frustration began to show on Rahane. He finally succumbed to the pressure, stepping out and lofting Dilruwan Perera straight to long-on in an attempt to attack his way into form.

Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma scored brisk half-centuries as India declared on 246 for 5, setting a 410-run target.
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma scored brisk half-centuries as India declared on 246 for 5, setting a 410-run target.

Pujara then showed how it's done, scoring fluently and helping India pick up pace in the process. He did it with terrific footwork against the spinners, often charging down and converting deliveries into full-tosses or half-volleys.

Against the run of play, Pujara played for non-existent turn and edged a straight ball from de Silva to slip on 49. But his positive approach rubbed off on Dhawan, who opened up by taking Lakshan Sandakan for a straight six before being stumped while going for another.

Rohit and Kohli then took charge, scoring briskly for their half-centuries. Kohli fell after his fifty, which also took his series tally past 600, while India declared immediately after Rohit reached his milestone.

Earlier, Dinesh Chandimal got his highest Test score in a marathon 361-ball 164 to eat into India’s total. The Sri Lankan added 30 for the last wicket with Sandakan before being the last man out, slashing Ishant Sharma to third-man to hand the pacer his third wicket of the innings.

Posted on 2017-12-05 17:51:11
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QUESTION?

Should Dilshan have continued until Cricket World Cup 2019?

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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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