Ind v SL, 1st Test, Day 4, Review: India wipe out the deficit as the match heads towards a tame draw

Ind v SL, 1st Test, Day 4, Review: India wipe out the deficit as the match heads towards a tame draw

India ended the day on 171/1 with a lead of 49 runs.

Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul
Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The first Test match between India and Sri Lanka is heading towards a tame draw with the pitch being flattened out quite dramatically. The weather has been kind to everyone in Kolkata as the play was not interrupted due to rain for the consecutive second day. India rode on the half-centuries from Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul in the second innings as they wiped out the first-innings deficit of 122 with utter ease. However, it seems very hard that to eke out a result from the game unless something extraordinary happens on the last day.

The pressure was on the hosts when they started their second innings soon after lunch as India was trailing by 122 runs. But Dhawan and Rahul pummeled the Sri Lankan bowlers who looked toothless unlike the first innings when they were hostile. The pitch eased out considerably under the sun which helped the Indian batsmen to attack the bowlers. The latter launched the counterattack in the early stages as Dhawan took over later which kept the run-rate of the team hovering around 4-4.5.

Shikhar missed out on a well-deserved century by just six runs as he was scalped by Dasun Shanaka just a few minutes before the close of play. But Rahul was solid throughout and remained unbeaten on 73 with eight fours with Cheteshwar Pujara who has just come in. India had taken the lead of 49 runs with a score 171/1 on the board before the umpires to call it a day due to bad light. There is a possibility that the hosts might play an attacking cricket in the first session of the final day and have a go at the tired legs of the visiting batsmen in the latter half of the day.

Herath counter-punch earns Sri Lanka a crucial lead

Earlier, Sri Lanka continued to stay on top with the overnight batsman Dinesh Chandimal and Niroshan Dickwella looking comfortable in the middle. They took the team’s score past 172 as things started to look bleak for India. But the combination of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami scalped three wickets for just one which reduced them to 201/7 from 200/4. But Rangana Herath played beautifully with the tail-enders and looked the most comfortable batsman in the match until then.

Though the hosts would have bundled them out earlier if Dilruwan Perera hadn’t taken a review belatedly after being signalled from the dressing room. He had turned his back and had started walking towards the pavilion after being given out but suddenly turned back only to review it. There are chances that the Indian team management might take the matter up to the match referee. But Herath was exceptional and scored vital 67 runs before getting out with the team’s score reading 290. Eventually, Sri Lanka were bowled out for an enterprising 294, well ahead of the Indian score.

Bhuvi and Shami bowled exceedingly well as they shared 8 wickets between them. Umesh Yadav didn’t threaten much and could pick only two wickets which he had scalped the day before. Sri Lanka had a golden opportunity to surprise the number 1 side in the world and eke out a positive result from this encounter. But now they are down the barrel and might face a similar situation late on the final day. It would be interesting to see if Virat Kohli tries to force a result by declaring after getting quick runs in the first session. Also, the pitch has to play its part and assist the bowlers to generate some interest in the game which is otherwise heading towards a stalemate.

Brief Scores

India 172 & 171/1 (S Dhawan 94, KL Rahul 73*)

Sri Lanka 294 (R Herath 67, A Mathews 52; B Kumar 4/88, M Shami 4/100)