Herath frustrated India with a third Test fifty – his second against them, hitting nine fours during his 105-Ball stay. It was his resistance lower down the order that Sri Lanka recovered after losing three wickets in 10 balls during the morning session to take a healthy lead.
Herath, whose innings was an entertaining affair, started spotting the ball accurately in the post-lunch session, hitting a boundary to reach his fifty and then scored three more of them before holing out to deep point fielder off Bhuvneshwar. Shami cleaned up Suranga Lakmal (16) to end India’s agony.
This followed a see-saw session saw Sri Lanka stretching lead to 91 runs at the lunch break
The overnight pair of Dinesh Chandimal and Niroshan Dickwella began the proceedings on a fluent note even as Bhuvneshwar and Shami bowled their heart out, getting the ball dance to their tunes regularly. However, as was the case on Day 3, the ball either whizzed past the bat safely or the edges kept landing safe zones.
Bhuvneshwar came around the wicket to left-hander Dickwella, surprised him with a bouncer, produced a top edge but the ball landed safely. Shami, who hobbled off the field late yesterday, looked fresh today and was moving the ball both ways. But he too erred in between allowing Dickwella to free his arms and send the ball rolling past the boundary twice either side of the wicket. He grew in confidence and became more adventurous when he scooped one over mid-on for a four off Shami.
He later crashed a short and wide one from Shami through square taking the score to 200/4 in 52.3 overs. Shami was hitting the deck hard and creating troubled but was unlucky to have not being rewarded with a wicket. Dickwella ended his wait after edging a short one to Virat Kohli at second slip. His 38-ball 35 was handy in the first hour of play when the Indian seamers were on top. Chandimal complemented Dickwella with a few boundaries of his own – a mixture of classy and streaky strokes.
He would soon fall to Shami who was continuously landing deliveries in the off-stump region in search of edges. Chandimal was lucky to have not nicked a few that moved away after landing in the region but nicked one to be out caught behind on 28 during a period when Sri Lanka lost three wickets in the space of 10 deliveries. Before his departure, Bhuvneshwar had trapped Dasun Shanaka lbw for a three-ball duck who reviewed the decision but to no avail.
Dilruwan Perera was also adjudged lbw for a duck before he made a late call for DRS, leading to speculations whether he was signalled by the Sri Lankan dressing room to do so. He would later fall to Shami after nicking an excellent delivery to the keeper for 5. But Herath at the other end was playing in his own inimitable style. Whenever the ball was fuller or bowled shorter, he didn’t shy away from having a go and was rewarded with boundaries. He even scored two fours off Shami in an over as the pendulum again swung towards the visitors.
Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 294 (Rangana Herath 67, Angelo Mathews 52, Lahiru Thirimanne 51) lead India 172 by 122 runs
Source : timesofindia