Kanpur: It was one of the best days of leading the side for MS Dhoni as his team virtually dominated the Lankan outfit in all the elements of the game.
Sri Lanka were left staring at one of their most humiliating defeats of recent times, hoping for a miracle as their scorecard at the end of the third day’s play read a dismal 57/4, trailing by 356 runs.
Sreesanth was spitting venom all over again in the islanders’ second innings as he claimed opener Tillakaratne Dilshan early-on. Harbhajan too wasted no time in getting into the crux of the action, getting the wicket of skipper Kumar Sangakkara.
Virender Sehwag, the man with the golden arm, came well and scalped Tharanga Paranavitana at a score of twenty runs, giving India its second breakthrough of the innings. It would have been sweeter if Dravid had not dropped Jayawardene yet again, but the outfit would look to amend such issues at the resumption of play tomorrow.
However, the fielding lapse was made-up for, with Yuvraj Singh being lightning fast to run Mahela Jayawardene out of his crease. The top order yet again failed to click for Sri Lanka, that too on the same day!
Sri Lanka 1st Innings
Sri Lanka were humbled in front of a buoyant Indian performance, getting all out for 229 runs, a big 413-run trail from India’s first innings total. As expected, follow-on was enforced by Dhoni and the home outfit would like to win the Test and gain lead going into the final at Mumbai.
It was a day when India did everything right, and more. The bowlers were on cue, fielders were up and running and the wicket keeping was satisfactory. The chief nemesis of Sri Lanka stood out to be the 5 wicket haul holder S Sreesanth as he sent tremor after tremor down the Lankan batting spine.
The Indian camp would be pleased with the show that yielded numerous wickets, a striking contrast from the visitors’ sessions of bowling on the previous two days.
Sreesanth was simply lethal, taking off with a wicket in his second spell, claiming Prasanna Jayawardene at thirty nine. It was soon followed-up with the scalp of Rangana Herath, who was clean bowled for eleven runs.
Sreesanth was a man possessed on the grass, claiming three wickets in quick time. He claimed the crucial wicket of Kumar Sangakkara (44), the set batsman, followed it up with the scalp of Samaraweera, both the batsmen dragging the ball back onto the stumps.
He had started the morning with a bang, claiming Tharanga Paranavitana for a score of thirty seven runs. He was the showman of the morning, giving India a chance of enforcing the follow-on and going for the kill.
The islanders’ penultimate wicket fell as Muralitharan was plumb in front of the wicket to a superb Pragyan Ojha turner.
The Jayawardene duo did try to hold fort and rotate the strike, a refreshing change from the collapse of the morning, but the entry of comeback kid Sreesanth proved to be the doom for the batsmen.
Harbhajan Singh spun into action too, claiming his first victim of the day in the form of Angelo Mathews (13). The batsman was clean bowled to a tossed up delivery that invited him for a slog, missing the trajectory completely. He was next seen claiming the last Lankan wicket in the form of Welegedara’s LBW.
The duo of Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene took the islanders’ ship past the 100-run mark, hoping to avert any major blows in the mammoth run-chase against Dhoni’s men, but sadly, could not take it far.
With the stage set for a historic Test win, The Indian team would be looking to leave no stones unturned at the resume of play on Day 4.