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Cricket: India close in on series sweep after Shami strikes

Cricket - Sri Lanka v India - Third Test Match - Pallekele, Sri Lanka - August 14, 2017 - A fan of the Sri Lankan team watches the match. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte
Cricket - Sri Lanka v India - Third Test Match - Pallekele, Sri Lanka - August 14, 2017 - A fan of the Sri Lankan team watches the match. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

PALLEKELE, Sri Lanka (Reuters) - Paceman Mohammed Shami struck twice as India closed in on a massive win on day three of the third and final test against Sri Lanka on Monday.

The beleaguered hosts were 82 for four in their second innings at lunch, still trailing by 270 runs after being made to follow on, facing a 3-0 whitewash against the world's top ranked test team.

Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal was unbeaten on 26 while former skipper Angelo Mathews was 17 not out at the break.

After heavy defeats in Galle and Colombo inside four days, Sri Lanka's hopes of avoiding an innings loss rested on a solid start but Ravichandran Ashwin dampened their hopes when he struck in his first over of the day.

The off-spinner sent back opener Dimuth Karunaratne for 16 after Sri Lanka had resumed on 19-1. The left-hander was caught by Ajinkya Rahane at slip after getting a thick edge to a turning delivery.

Nightwatchman Malinda Pushpakumara was soon caught behind off Shami and the right-arm paceman also dismissed Kusal Mendis for 12 to reduce the hosts to 39-4.

Chandimal and Mathews have added 43 in their unbroken fifth wicket stand and any hopes of a Sri Lankan fightback will rest on the two experienced right-handed batsmen.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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