In­dia take charge of the third Test

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

In­dia is in a win­ning po­si­tion in the third and fi­nal cricket Test as Sri Lanka, fol­low­ing on, reached 19 for one at stumps on the se­cond day yes­ter­day. The hosts still need 333 runs with nine wick­ets in hand to avoid an in­nings de­feat. Seam bowler Umesh Yadav bowled Upul Tha­ranga (7) off the in­side edge. Dimuth Karunaratne is bat­ting on 12 with night watch­man Malinda Puhspaku­mara yet to score.

Ear­lier In­dian spin­ner Kuldeep Yadav took four wick­ets to help In­dia end Sri Lanka’s first in­nings on 135. In­dia was dis­missed for 487 in its first in­nings backed by cen­turies from Shikhar Dhawan and Hardik Pandya. In­dia is eyeing a series white­wash hav­ing won both the pre­vi­ous tests con­vinc­ingly.

When Sri Lanka came out to bat in the first in­nings seam bowler Mo­hammed Shami had Tha­ranga (4) and Karunaratne (5) caught by wick­et­keeper Wrid­dhi­man Saha while Kusal Mendis was run out for 18.

Pandya, who smashed a maiden Test cen­tury ear­lier, re­turned with the ball to trap An­gelo Mathews lbw with­out scor­ing leav­ing Sri Lanka on 38 for four. Cap­tain Di­nesh Chandi­mal and Niroshan Dick­wella put to­gether the best part­ner­ship of the in­nings, shar­ing 63 runs for the fifth wicket.

The slide started again when Dick­wella stepped out to hit Kuldeep Yadav and was stumped by Saha. Chandi­mal was out for 48 caught at leg slip by Lokesh Rahul off Ravichan­dran Ash­win. Kuldeep Yadav fin­ished with four for 40. Ear­lier Pandya, play­ing in just his third Test, smacked seven sixes and eight fours in mak­ing 108 which came off 96 balls. Dhawan was out for 119 on the open­ing day.

Pandya told re­porters that his team’s stand­ing in the match suited his ag­gres­sive style of bat­ting. “Could there have been a big­ger opportunity than that? Nine wick­ets were al­ready down and I knew, if I stay in the crease and con­nect the ball well, it would go for six. Even if I were to mishit, I had to. I had no choice,” he said.

“It was an ideal opportunity and ob­vi­ously there was a team’s goal and which was to them a 400-run tar­get and we scored close to 490. I was tak­ing a cal­cu­la­tive risk.” Sri Lanka’s bat­ting coach Hashan Til­lakaratne said his team was low on con­fi­dence. “It’s a dis­ap­point­ing day. We bat­ted so poorly to­day. I am sure the boys have re­al­ized where we went wrong, I am sure they will come up with a bet­ter per­for­mance to­mor­row,” he said. “There are so many things you can say when the team is not do­ing too well, we have to back the guys and give them con­fi­dence.”

In­dia, al­ready 2-0 ahead in the series, made 487 in the first in­nings, which ended three balls after lunch on day two.

The tourists lost overnight bats­man Saha for 16 with the to­tal on 339 when he was caught at gully by Dil­ruwan Per­era off seamer Vishwa Fer­nando. Kuldeep Yadav and Pandya added 62 runs for the sev­enth wicket be­fore left-arm wrist spin­ner Lak­shan San­dakan broke the part­ner­ship when he had Yadav caught be­hind by Dick­wella.

In­dia fell to 421-9 when Shami was caught and bowled by San­dakan, prompt­ing Pandya to go on the at­tack and shield last man Umesh Yadav from the strike.

Pandya belted 26 runs from one over bowled by left-arm spin­ner Push­paku­mara and raced to his hun­dred off just 86 de­liv­er­ies. San­dakan was the pick of the Sri Lanka bowlers, cap­tur­ing five for 132, his first test five-wicket haul.

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