New Delhi, Dec 5:
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 today.
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 16 overs that they batted during the final 85 minutes of the fourth day’s play was with an aim to survive rather than play positive cricket.
If the scoreboard is anything to go by, the ploy boomeranged on the visitors, who were again seen wearing anti-pollution masks, the second time in the game.
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. Shami played on his psyche with well-disguised bouncers into his body – one such he fended awkwardly and offered a simple catch to Ajinkya Rahane in the slips.
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.
With a cushion of 163-run first innings lead, the Indian batsmen showed intent to score quick runs, scoring at a rate of 4.70 in the 52.2 overs they batted in the second innings. (PTI)