New Delhi Tuesday – Sri Lanka left with a daunting task of chasing 410 runs for victory to level the three-match Test series against India finished the fourth day struggling to save the third and final Test at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium on Tuesday.
After Sri Lanka was dismissed for 373 in their first innings in the morning, India with a first innings lead of 164 batted till the final session and declared their second innings at 246-5 with Shikhar Dhawan (67), Virat Kohli (50) and Rohit Sharma (50 n.o.) all scoring half-centuries.
The Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium filled with smog at the start of the fourth day’s play in the third and final cricket Test between Sri Lanka and India on Tuesday. AFP
It was unfortunate that the umpires waited until Sri Lanka lost two quick wickets in an over from Ravindra Jadeja to come off for play as there was hardly any difference before the wickets fell and after. Sri Lanka trails by 379 runs with seven wickets in hand going into the fifth and final day today and must guard against how they perform in the second innings.
In recent times Sri Lanka has a history of second innings collapses after performing well in the first innings. Against Pakistan they were dismissed for 138 and 96 and in the ongoing series against India for 75/7 and 166.
The air quality in Delhi had not improved from what it was on Sunday only worsened and the Lankan players came to field in the Indian second innings with almost all of them wearing masks to protect them from the heavy smog that enveloped the stadium throughout the day.
Suranga Lakmal once again became a casualty when after bowling three overs and achieving the initial breakthrough for his country by getting the wicket of first innings centurion Murali Vijay for nine, he started to vomit on the field and was forced to leave play. He returned after a few minutes to resume bowling.
Sri Lanka however didn’t suffer from any further casualties for the rest of the Indian innings but however Mohammad Shami the Indian fast bowler after capturing the wicket of Sadeera Samarawickrama with a snorter of a delivery that knicked his glove started to put out like Lakmal and was also forced to leave the field. So it was not only the Sri Lankans who were affected by the air pollution but even the Indians in their own environment.
However for some strange reason none of the Indian players wore masks on the field – maybe because they didn’t want to embarass their own Cricket Board and country by doing so and thereby making the venue an unsafe target for future international matches. Kohli immediately brought his spinners on to play.
Chandimal went onto play a captain’s knock scoring a career best 164 to surpass his match-winning 162 not out also made against India at Galle in 2015. It was the fourth time in his career he had gone past the 150-run mark.
Chandimal finally fell attempting to farm the bowling to protect last man Sandakan who hung around for 40 minutes without scoring but helped his captain raise the score by 30 runs. Chandimal played a sublime innings batting eight minutes under eight hours and gave another exhibition of pure Test match batting soaking the pressure and then wearing down the opposition in a flawless display that kept the marauding Indian bowlers at bay. He hit 21 fours and a six in his 361-ball innings. The wickets for India were all shared with all four bowlers picking up more than two each.