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Sri Lanka vs India, 2nd Test Match, Day 3: 5 Talking Points

India 8 wickets away to win the game by an inning.

Kusal Mendis
Sri Lankan cricketer Kusal Mendis raises his bat and helmet in celebration after scoring a century. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Day 3 of the Second Test match at Colombo between India and Sri Lanka, much like the first two days, belonged to the visitors, as they bundled out the hosts cheaply even before lunch. Ashwin and Jadeja, the usual suspects, wrecked the batting lineup of Lankans, who were already struggling with form and seeking inspiration from somewhere.

The turning point was a swashbuckling inning from a young left hander, which changed the course of the game. After being dismissed for 183, Kohli asked Chandimal to follow on and had no answer to the magnificent partnership between Mendis and Karunaratne. Although Sri Lankans are way behind India, their performance later in the day, sparked some hope for the hosts. That said, let us look at the five talking points in the game today.

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1. Indian bowlers making life difficult for the Lankans

The spin twin of India-Ashwin and Jadeja, who are currently the number 1 and 2 bowlers in Test rankings, went on to show exactly why they are held in high regards, especially on a spinning and turning wicket. Ravi Ashwin, not only is he climbing on to the ladder of the tally of Test wickets but also the number of five wicket hauls. He now joins Dale Steyn after picking up his 26th 5-wicket haul today at Colombo.

Ash has accomplished this feat in 51 matches whereas Steyn has played 85 matches while holding the feat. The spin and bounce off Jadeja turned out too hot to handle for the struggling Lankans. Both Jadeja and Shami picked up a couple of wickets each to terrorize the Lankan line-up. Umesh Yadav picked an important wicket of Mendis who was beginning to elongate his stay at the crease. India managed to wrap up the Sri Lankan innings even before Lunch as the home side could not even survive for more than 50 overs.

2. Sri Lankan crumble under pressure

After seeing off the initial scare yesterday, the onus was then on Mendis and Chandimal today to carry forward the Sri Lankan reply and avoid the follow on. However, none of the batsmen could offer a long stay at the crease as they crumbled under pressure created by the spin web of Ashwin and Jadeja. The dust bowl with a vicious turn at Colombo did not help their cause either.

Much like in the Galle Test, Sri Lanka could not offer much resistance to the Indian bowling lineup. The Lankans lost wickets in clumps and could not even avoid the follow-on. After the end of their innings, Sri Lanka was still behind the Indian total by 439 runs and behind the follow on target by 240 runs. Such was the mismatch, as mentioned by Mohammad Kaif, at Colombo.

3. Dickwella showing his teammates how to bat

With wickets falling at regular intervals around him, Sri Lankan limited over opening sensation Niroshan Dickwella, showed the way how to deal with the mighty Indian attack on a difficult pitch. His aggressive approach rattled the Indians somewhat as he scored a lightning 51 off just 48 balls in his typical counter-attacking style.

The innings might have had only lasted for while but it gave a strong message to the opposition as well as within the Sri Lankan camp, exhibiting the manner with which one should play on the strip against a Number 1 ranked side in the world. The innings from Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis later in the afternoon was a prior example of the significance of young Dickwella’s fearless innings. He also entertained the crowd with seven boundaries and a six, hitting the ball at a strike rate of 106.25.

4. Karunaratne-Mendis partnership

After being asked to bat again by Kohli, who had enough runs in the bank, Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis, took a lesson from the Dickwella innings and gave a firm reply to the Indians, thereby avoiding further embarrassment. India had no answer to the 191 run partnership which came off just 311 balls as Mendis brought up yet another Test match ton in just 120 balls.

His fluent innings of 110 came off just 135 balls, at a strike rate of 81.5, as he smashed a whopping 17 boundaries in the innings. Karunaratne wasn’t as aggressive as his partner but managed to hit few good balls during his unbeaten innings of 92, as he smashed 12 boundaries in the process. The counter-attacking partnership took the team to a position of respectability and gave a ray 0f hope to salvage some pride out of the Test match, which was destined to end today.

5. Lankan resurgence

Virat Kohli, after gaining a monumental lead of 400 odd runs, asked Chandimal’s side to bat again. Many expected the match to end today, looking at the frail batting unit of Sri Lanka, which hadn’t fired throughout the series. However, not many expected a Sri Lankan resurgence later in the afternoon, as the hosts managed to avoid further embarrassment and provided with a firm reply to India.

The cause of destruction for Sri Lanka in the first innings, Ravi Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja, remained wicketless in the second innings. Jadeja was the most expensive, as went for an economy of 4.75. It was a befitting reply to those who questioned the standard of Sri Lankan cricket after they were enforced to follow-on. It requires a lot of heart and character to come up with a performance like this, especially following on.

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