India set Sri Lanka daunting 410-run victory target

  • Host players dent visitors top order to maintain their iron grip on third, final test

NEW DELHI: India set Sri Lanka a daunting 410-run victory target and dented the tourists’ top order to maintain their iron grip on the third and final test on Tuesday.

Having secured a handy 163-run first-innings lead, India declared on 246 for five about 45 minutes after tea and Sri Lanka were reeling on 31 for three when bad light stopped play with the tourists still needing 379 runs to level the series.

Dhananjaya de Silva was batting on 13 with first-innings centurion Angelo Mathews yet to open his account at the other end. Mohammad Shami dismissed opener Sadeera Samarawickrama for five with a vicious bouncer before Ravindra Jadeja struck twice in the same over, dismissing Dimuth Karunaratne caught behind for 13 and bowling Suranga Lakmal for a duck.

Earlier, Dinesh Chandimal made a career-best 164 to help Sri Lanka post 373 all out, their highest total in the series. Lakmal denied India a strong start to their second innings, dismissing Murali Vijay for nine. The paceman was subsequently seen vomiting and temporarily left the field as the Delhi smog continued to affect the match.

Ajinkya Rahane has been the lone batsman in India’s top six without a fifty in the series and was sent in ahead of Cheteshwar Pujara in a bid to help him rediscover his form ahead of the tour of South Africa. However, the move did not work. The right-hander survived two reviews and scored only 10 runs before trying to hit his way out of trouble and holing out in the deep off Dilruwan Perera.

TROUBLING SRI LANKAN BATSMEN: Shikhar Dhawan initially looked subdued but the left-hander soon accelerated, stepping out to hit Lakshan Sandakan over his head for a huge six. The left-arm wrist-spinner had the last laugh, though, as he lured Dhawan into charging out to play a similar shot only to be stumped for 67.Pujara (49) fell short of his fifty but Virat Kohli (50) and Rohit Sharma (50 not out) batted with characteristic ease against the jaded Sri Lankans to keep India in complete control of the match.

“We are in a good position now. They are three wickets down, so they would be under lot of pressure,” Dhawan told reporters. The opener praised pace duo Shami and Ishant Sharma for troubling the Sri Lankan batsmen despite lack of help from the pitch. “They gave everything. They bowled really good pace, I could feel it from slip. It speaks volumes about their mindset because there was little for them in this flat track,” he said.

Smog causes Sri Lankan players to vomit on field


Sri Lanka’s Suranga Lakmal and Indian Mohammad Shami vomited on the field before walking off as Delhi’s smog continued to plague the third and final test against India on Tuesday.

India’s second innings was into its sixth over when Lakmal bent over and threw up before walking off for the ground for the second time in the match. Shami, who said on Monday that the situation was not as bad as was being projected, was also sick in the final session.

“Our people in discomfort, I think it speaks for itself,” a visibly frustrated Sri Lanka coach Nic Pothas told reporters. “The rest we cannot control. We’re professionals, we stopped talking about it, as it is not going to make any difference talking about it,” he said.

“The bottom line is we got to play a test match. It’s a professional bunch of people in the change room and we’re very positive.” Last month, Delhi’s government ordered schools to shut temporarily after pollution readings peaked at 500, the most severe level on the air quality index that measures poisonous particles.

India opener Shikhar Dhawan sympathised with the Sri Lankans but felt it was not bad enough to stop play. “Maybe Sri Lankan players are not used to it, but then so are many of my team mates,” said the Delhi player. “Not all of them are from Delhi. You got to get on with your job, that’s my view.”

Of course it maybe that it’s troubling them. I can’t deny there is pollution in Delhi,” Dhawan said, adding that Shami was doing fine and would bowl on Wednesday (today). Delhi’s hazardous air led to the cancellation of two Ranji Trophy matches last year and the Indian cricket board (BCCI) has said it would factor in pollution before scheduling a match in the city in winter.

“This point about scheduling matches in Delhi in this particular period can be considered in view of the situation encountered in the last two-three days,” acting BCCI secretary Amitabh Choudhary told reporters late on Monday. “It can’t be seen affecting just one walk of life. The agencies which need to be dealing with it, I’m sure, are dealing with it,” he said.