Ishant takes four to put India in control in Colombo
COLOMBO – Fast bowler Ishant Sharma captured four wickets as India seized control of the third and final test against Sri Lanka on Sunday, reducing the hosts to 175 for eight at tea on the third day.
Bowling an impeccable line and length after India’s batsmen made 312, Sharma put the visitors in the driving seat for a series-clinching win in the series tied at 1-1.
Rangana Herath (47) and Dhammika Prasad (six) were unbeaten at the crease for Sri Lanka, who still trail the visitors by 137 runs in their first innings.
Ishant struck the first blow by dismissing Upul Tharanga (four) caught at second slip by Lokesh Rahul, who had earlier dropped the same batsman on zero in the first over of Sri Lanka’s innings.
Tharanga, who replaced the retired Kumar Sangakkara in the side for the match, could consider himself unlucky with replays showing the delivery was perilously close to a no ball but the television umpire ruled Ishant’s delivery was legal.
Fellow opener Kaushal Silva (three) was late to take his bat away from a sharp and rising delivery from Umesh Yadav and got an inside edge crashing onto his stumps.
Dinesh Chandimal (23) launched a counter attack, hitting five fours in his 27-ball knock, but was given out lbw to seamer Stuart Binny with replays indicating the ball was a bit high and could have gone over the stumps.
Ishant returned for his second spell to get Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews (one) edging behind on his first ball for debutant Indian wicketkeeper Naman Ojha to complete his first test dismissal.
The 26-year-old Ishant had Lahiru Thirimanne caught for a duck by Rahul immediately after the lunch break, reducing Sri Lanka to 47-6 and in danger of following on.
But Rahul then dropped his second catch of the day, putting down a regulation take from debutant wicketkeeper Kusal Perera on nine off Yadav.
Perera (55) made full use of the reprieve to complete his maiden half-century, studded with nine fours. The diminutive left-hander became Ishant’s fourth victim but not until he had taken his team past the follow-on mark with Herath.
Tharindu Kaushal (16) became the only wicket to fall to a spinner when he was given out lbw against legspinner Amit Mishra although replays suggested he may have found an inside edge.
Earlier, India added 20 runs to their overnight score of 292-8 to complete a solid first innings.
Cheteshwar Pujara, forced to bat at the top due to injuries to regular openers, carried his bat through to remain unbeaten on 145 for the visitors.
Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath bowled out tail-enders Ishant and Yadav to finish with three wickets in the innings. Fast bowler Prasad was the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers with figures of 4-100. -Reuters