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Lively pitch injects life into Test: After 3 days of ups and downs, there is no clear winner in sight

633   //    06 Aug 2010, 00:42 IST

Sri Lankan pitches so far have been lifeless and utterly easy for batsmen. In the sweltering heat, bowlers have had to work doubly hard and witness mountain of runs being scored with them being able to do very little about it. But in the P. Sara Oval at Colombo, bowlers finally have something to look forward to.

Virender Sehwag reached his 21st century with a boundary

Virender Sehwag reached his 21st century with a boundary. Later, he claimed two wickets.

And even if it is another India – Sri Lanka encounter, this current Test is not another torture for players and spectators alike. A wicket that has something for the bowlers always tests batsmen and makes the game interesting.

After a day of ups and downs, it is still not clear which of the two sides have the upper hand at the moment. In reply to 425 of Sri Lanka, India managed to gain a slender lead of 11 runs thanks largely to the wagging India tail. At stumps on day 3, Sri Lanka are 45 for 2, with Virender Sehwag having claimed both openers Paranavitana and Tillakaratne Dilshan.

The wicket has pace and bounce, and assists swing. Though not a nightmarish one for the batsmen, it requires caution and adaptability to play a big knock, unless of course, if you are Virender Sehwag.

Sehwag reached his century with a boundary off Randiv, but soon fell. Tendulkar had already departed five overs earlier and it seemed Sri Lanka were clawing their way back into the contest. Laxman and Raina stuck together to gather 105 runs for India, and at 350 for 7, valuable contributions from tail, especially Abhimanyu Mithun and Amit Mishra took the Indian total past the Sri Lanka first innings score.

Abhimanyu Mithun has consistently performed with the bat in this debut series of his, applying himself and preparing to rough it out in the middle. He was just four short of a half century when Randiv produced a delivery that touched his gloves and fell into the hands of short-leg fielder Mahela Jayawardene.

Ishant Sharma was the last Indian wicket to fall amidst drama. Umpire Tucker had initially given a not out verdict against an appeal for a catch. The ball had not hit the bat, but all of a sudden the finger was lifted. Sri Lanka came out to bat.

Sehwag’s off-spin accounted for Paranvitana in the 10th over, and Dilshan in the 12th, Murali Vijay having taken a wonderful catch at short-leg.

Although India have the psychological edge ahead of the hosts, the match is evenly poised and it is anybody’s game from here. The good thing is, we will surely have a result this time.

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