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After India decided to declare at the team score of 622/9, ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin picked five wickets in Sri Lanka’s first innings to pull the match firmly in India's corner. Kusal Mendis and Dimuth Karunaratne starred with the bat in the second innings for the hosts after India bowled out Sri Lanka for a paltry 183 runs in the first innings and enforced the follow on the third day of second Test at Colombo on Saturday.
Despite a spirited century from Mendis and an unbeaten 92 by Karunaratne, the Islanders are still 230 runs behind India's first innings score of 622/9d with two day's of play still left. After coming out to bat again, Umesh Yadav gave the visitors the perfect start as he got rid of opener Upul Tharanga in just the third over after lunch. Tharanga was beaten by Umesh's pace and the ball crashed into his middle stumps while he was batting on 2.
However, after this early dismissal, Karunaratne was joined at the crease by Kusal Mendis and the duo started the counter-attack for the hosts. The duo dealt with the initial overs of Ashwin and Jadeja and then broke free after they were set in the middle. Both Mendis and Karunaratne kept the scoreboard ticking and also brought up their respective half-centuries. Mendis was the proving to be the aggressor of the two as he was hitting boundaries at will. Mendis continued the onslaught and finally notched up his well-deserved century and by doing so he became the first player to score a century against India while following on since 2012. The last player to do so was England's Alastair Cook, who slammed 176 in the Ahmedabad Test in 2012.
Looking to break the partnership, Kohli introduced his X-factor player Hardik Pandya into the attack and the decision worked wonders for the visitors. Pandya got rid of Mendis for 110 and broke the 191-run partnership. This mammoth stand was third highest partnership against India while following on. The hosts were dealt with no more hiccups in the final stages of the day as they ended the day at 209/2, with Karunaratne and nightwatchman Pushpakumara at the crease.
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First Published: August 6, 2017, 8:54 AM IST