Chasing 410 to level the series, Sri Lanka were 31/3 at stumps, still needing another 379 to win the game with seven wickets in hand. Dhananjaya de Silva (13) and Angelo mathews (0) are at the crease as Ravindra Jadeja dismissed Dimuth Karunaratne (13) and night-watchman Suranga Lakmal (0) in the closing stages of the day’s play. A slight knick as Wriddhiman Saha did the rest behind the stumps. Before that, Mohammed Shami sent back Sadeera Samarawickrama for 5. It was a brilliant ball as Shami first bounced him and then got the edge that landed straight to Ajinkya Rahane at gully. That was a snorter at 143kph.
Earlier, it was all about starting well and the Indians did just that as the Lankans could manage to bat only 6 overs before Ishant Sharma sent back skipper Dinesh Chandimal (164) back to the dressing room to pull the curtains on the Lankan innings. Starting on 356/9, the Lankans could muster only 17 runs as the innings ended on 373.
From there on, it was all about the Indian batsmen making hay on a rather hazy day. The gloom on the sky was well complimented by the silken shots on display from the Indian batsmen right from the start of the Indian second innings. Leading by 163, opener Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan came out wearing a confident look. Even though Dhawan looked slow to start with, Vijay got the runs flowing with the boundaries.
But one shot too many saw Suranga Lakmal dismiss Vijay for 9 as Niroshan Dickwella completed a good catch behind the stumps. What followed was a surprise move as Ajinkya Rahane was sent in above Cheteshwar Pujara and even though the move showed intent, Rahane failed to score many as he walked back for 10. Rahane looked to take the attack to the bowlers and managed to hit Dilruwan Perera straight to Sandakan.
Pujara came in next and showed intent from the word go. In fact, while Pujara was the aggressor, Dhawan was happy to play second fiddle. It looked like the move even took the Lankans by surprise as it rarely happens that Pujara is the attacker in a partnership. But the show came to an abrupt end as Pujara failed to read a straighter one and guided Dhananjaya straight to Angelo Mathews at first slip for 49.
In walked Delhi’s favourite son Kohli and immediately there was a spring in the stride of Dhawan as he started taking the attack to the Lankan bowlers. It almost looked like Kohli asked the opener to enjoy his birthday and express himself in the middle. The partnership was all about flamboyance and overdrive as the two batsmen looked set to send the Lankan bowlers on a leather hunt.
But once again, Dhawan was dismissed as he looked to over-attack, stumped by Dickwella off Sandakan for 67. After that what followed was another show of quality batsmanship as Rohit joined Kohli in the middle. The two matched each other shot for shot and it looked like the Lankan bowlers were actually waiting for the declaration rather than pick wickets.
In the end, Kohli threw his wicket away as he played a wild hoick having reached another Test fifty. Rohit though kept his calm after that and ensured that he reached his 50 at a decent pace to allow Kohli to declare the innings and give the Indian bowlers more time to finish off the Lankan resistance on a cracking Kotla wicket on the fifth day of the Test on Wednesday.
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First Published: December 5, 2017, 4:46 PM IST