New Delhi: The Indian bowlers were rewarded for their perseverance on a lifeless track as the hosts reduced Sri Lanka to 356 for nine after defiant hundreds from Angelo Mathews (111, 268b, 14×4, 2×6) and Dinesh Chandimal (147 n o, 341b, 18×4, 1×6) in the final Test here Monday at the Feroz Shah Kotla.
Ravichandran Ashwin (3/90) was again among wickets and he was well-supported by Mohammed Shami (2/74), Ravindra Jadeja (2/85) and Ishant Sharma (2/94).
Ashwin’s victims included Mathews (111), Roshen Silva (0) and Niroshan Dickwella (0), as India wrested back the advantage from the islanders, who frustrated the bowlers in the first two sessions.
The other highlight for India was Wriddhiman Saha’s glovework behind the stumps. He took two stunning catches, one each of Ishant and Shami, flinging himself to his right on both occasions, to see the back of Sadeera Samarawickrama (33) and Suranga Lakmal (five) respectively. Both were out of the world efforts and if there was a wicket’s column attributed to keepers’, these two surely would have been Saha’s wickets.
Sri Lanka on their part, would be happy to have saved follow-on, which will ensure that they don’t need to bat long enough in the second innings in order to save the Test match.
The Indians will have something to worry about as this innings has been one of their worst fielding efforts with five catches being dropped.
Under fire for his below-par show in the preceding games, Mathews dug deep into his reservoir of experience to score his eighth Test hundred and added 181 runs in 79.2 overs with the in-form skipper Chandimal, who hit his 10th ton.
Mathews finally fell when Ashwin got one to drift away as the former captain shaped up to play for an off-break, the resultant tickle was accepted by Saha.
Mathews was dropped thrice – on six, 98 and 104 by Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma (both slips) and substitute fielder Vijay Shankar at mid-off. Chandimal was also dropped once during his innings.
Press Trust of India