Resuming at 140 for three in the morning, Lahiru Thirimanne (62) and Angelo Mathews (102) kept the match hanging in balance until Ishant Sharma claimed the former post lunch to end the stand for 127 runs. The pacer also gave India their next wicket while Stuart Binny provided a vital breakthrough by sending back the SL captain late in the session. After a wicketless first session, India claimed four wickets for 74 runs in the second to edge their way back into the game. Amit Mishra and Ravichandran Ashwin then wrapped up the tail to bowl SL out for 306 soon after tea.
India then once again in the match lost their first wicket in the first over of the innings to Dhammika Prasad. KL Rahul found his leg-stump uprooted by the pacer leaving India on three for one. And once again Ajinkya Rahane came in to bat in the first over and got off the mark with a boundary through the on side in the pacer’s next over.
After a forgettable outing in the first innings, Vijay and Rahane bided their time at the crease as they worked to lay a foundation for the visiting side. The duo stoically held their ground as the SL bowlers attacked. They kept the score board moving as they worked to see India through the day’s play. The pair had dropped anchor and kept the bowlers at bay as they extended their team’s lead.
With the day’s play extended due to interruptions by rain earlier in the day, the batsmen continued to battle under the evening sky as the SL spinners extracted turn and bounce in an effort to break the partnership. The second wicket stand was unbroken on 67 when play was called off on Friday.
Earlier, Virat Kohli commenced the proceedings with Ishant and Binny, and while the former forced an edge from the No 3 bat in the very first over, which fell short of the slips; the latter was struck twice to the fence by the SL captain.
Batting at an unhurried pace Mathews kept the scorers busy as he guided the Sri Lankan innings. In search of a breakthrough, Kohli brought Yadav, who had troubled the middle-order bat on Day 2 in to the attack and also utilised both his spinners but without much success. Edges and nicks flew but didn’t carry as the SL batsmen worked to build the innings. The SL skipper shaped the innings while consolidating the partnership with Thirimanne. With a single towards extra cover he was the first to reach the 50-run mark, his 23rd Test fifty.
Thirimanne played the perfect foil to his captain as they strengthened the team’s position after watchfully seeing off the early part of the day. Playing patiently he too reached his half-century in the later part of the session with a single off Ashwin on the off side.
With SL comfortably poised on 217 for three, India took the new ball as soon as it was due and Yadav bowled the one over before the end of session in effort to create a dent in the opposition’s line-up but without success. The Mathews-Thirimanne pair saw SL through to Lunch in an unbroken 110-run stand.
India got the much needed breakthrough in the fourth over of the second session. Kohli began the proceedings with Ashwin and bowled Ishant from the other end when play resumed after a brief rain interruption. Hitting the deck hard, Ishant bowled short to Mathews and was slammed thrice to the fence by the batsman in his first over with the new ball. However, in his next over, the pacer took a thin edge of Thirimanne’s bat through to the wicketkeeper with a fuller delivery and then welcomed Dinesh Chandimal with a bouncer.
After another short rain interruption the Indian bowlers bowled with renewed vigour. 18 runs later, Chandimal departed edging Ishant to the slips where Rahul took the catch on second attempt.
Jehan Mubarak then joined Mathews in negotiating the Indian pacers who were banging the ball in and testing the batsmen. Binny too asked questions off the SL batsmen as India kept the them on their toes.
A while later, Mathews reverse swept Ashwin to get to a hard earned century. But, in the following over, Binny drew an edge from the centurion to the slips and Vijay took a simple catch at first slip to give the bowler his maiden Test wicket.
After the departure of the captain the remaining four wickets fell for 22 runs. Mishra then claimed his 50th Test wicket in the next. The leg-spinner had Prasad caught in the slips to leave SL on 289 for seven. Mubarak and Herath then took the team to Tea on 298 for seven.
On the fourth ball after tea, Mishra crashed into Mubarak’s wood work and six runs later Ashwin accounted for Herath. The leg-spinner then drew out Tharindu Kaushal and had him stumped to bowl SL out.
End of Day 1: India 1st inn 319/6 in 87.2 overs (KL Rahul 108, R Sharma 79, V Kohli 78, D Prasad 2/72, R Herath 2/73)
End of Day 2: India 1st inn 393 all out in 114 overs (W Saha 56, A Mishra 24, R Herath 4/81, A Mathews 2/24); Sri Lanka 1st inn 140/3 in 53 overs (K Silva 51, K Sangakkara 32, L Thirimanne 28*, A Mishra 1/9, U Yadav 1/34)
End of Day 3: Sri Lanka 1st inn 306 all out in (A Mathews 102, L Thirimanne 62, A Mishra 4/43, I Sharma 2/68); India 2nd inn 70/1 in 29.2 overs (M Vijay 39*, A Rahane 28*, D Prasad 1/12)