Sri Lanka vs India, 2nd Test-Day 4: India sets a stiff target for Lanka
India started the Day four riding high on their performance in the previous three days. The only setback was losing KL Rahul, who had scored a century in the first innings, cheaply on the last session of the Day three. Murali Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane started where they had left yesterday and were playing confidently without giving much away. Murali was more aggressive of the two.
Rangana Herath bowled the first over but failed to provide Lanka the much-needed breakthrough. He was ably supported by Dhammika Prasad from the other end. Here one has to credit Murali for taking the initiative of keeping the scoreboard ticking. He struck some big shots too during the course of his innings.
He picked spinner Kaushal for special treatment in terms of big hits. Four in one over and six in the other. But, Kaushal, who has been a real find for Lanka, fought back and caught Murali (82) plumb while he was trying to sweep. The umpire took no time in raising his finger.
Next Indian skipper came out to join Rahane. Much was expected from the aggressive batsman, but his innings was cut short by a ball with came to his pads tad bit fast and with the ball in line, there was no doubt in umpire’s mind. This was Kaushal’s second wicket of the match, he was wicketless in the first innings. Virat Kohli could add only 10 runs to the total.
Rohit Sharma walked out from the Indian camp to bat. As a commentator said, Old No. 3 and current No. 5 comes in to join the old No. 5 and current No. 3. It was the comment that correctly described the musical chair game that is going on for No. 3 position. India is struggling to find a permanent batsman at this position, which fell vacant after the retirement of The Wall, Rahul Dravid.
These quick dismissals had to no effect on Rahane who continued to score in singles and doubles, rotating the strike with Sharma. He quickly reached the nineties and Sri Lanka brought all its fielders close in to prevent Rahane from taking a single to complete his century. He had been dismissed earlier three times in nervous nineties so that fact would be weighing heavily on him.
Rahane finally got the magical one run to complete his well-deserved century. His 100 consisted of 49 singles, which only speaks of the hard work and temperament of the player who was forced to bat one down in both the innings against his usual No. 5 position.
After passing the magical mark, there was a new vigour in Rahane’s demeanour. He along with Rohit Sharma started to pick on the Lankan bowlers, especially the spinner Kaushal.
Rohit Sharma (34) got out playing a mistimed shot off Kaushal and was safely caught by the veteran Jehan Mubarak in the deep.
Rahane got out edging the ball to wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal, who made no mistake in the collection. This was Kaushal’s third wicket. Angelo kept on bowling Kaushal for most of the time.
Stuart Binny and Wriddhiman Saha were at the crease. Out of the blue, Saha was seen walking out of the ground due to some medical reason. Ravichandran Ashwin joined Binny in the middle.
Binny was trying to accelerate the innings but got out of the first ball after tea off Prasad. Next in the line was Ashwin (19) who became the next victim of Prasad. Ashwin edged to the wicketkeeper while trying to glide the ball down to the third man.
After Ashwin’s departure Saha walked back in. Both Saha (13-not out) and Mishra (10) tried to take the Lankan bowlers to cleaners. Mishra was caught at the short fine leg while attempting to pull.
This was the fourth wicket for Prasad. Umesh Yadav (4) took to crease after Mishra and was trying to send every ball out of the ground before Kohli called them back.
Though Saha came back to bat but KL Rahul is going to keep wickets for the rest of the day. Indians have given themselves 117 overs to get 10 wickets, for Lanka 413 seems to be an uphill task.
Sri Lankan openers Kaushal Silva and Dimuth Karunaratne walked out to face Indian attack with Ashwin leading the attack along with Umesh Yadav.
Ashwin quickly struck and removed Silva in his second over with just eight runs on the board. After Silva, Sangakkara walked out one last time. He was given a guard of honour by the budding Sri Lankan cricketers. He took the breath away of fans with some trademark shots, but the feast could not last long as he was dismissed by his nemesis Ashwin, caught at gully by Murali Vijay. In a very touching gesture, all the Indian player lined up to shake hands with the Sri Lankan great on his way out.
Karunaratne in the company of his captain Angelo Mathews picked Ashwin for three fours in the same over and consequently Ishant was brought into the attack.
The day ended with Sri Lanka at precarious 72 for the loss of two wickets.