India on the cusp of a historic win

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Old 01-Sep-2015
Post India on the cusp of a historic win

Colombo, august 31
India stood seven wickets away from a series-clinching victory after setting Sri Lanka a formidable 386-run victory target on the penultimate day of the third and final Test on Monday.
Resuming on a precarious 21-3 in the bowler-dominated, weather-hit contest, the visitors needed a string of cameos from their middle and lower-order batsmen to score 274 in their second innings. In their first Test since batting great Kumar Sangakkara retired, Sri Lanka lost opener Upul Tharanga in the first over and were reeling at 67-3 at the close. Opener Kaushal Silva (24) and skipper Angelo Mathews (22) were at the crease with the hosts still needing 319 runs for an improbable victory.
Having taken a 111-run first-innings lead, India consolidated their position in the first two sessions at the Sinhalese Sports Club to virtually bat Sri Lanka out of the contest. Dhammika Prasad bowled with characteristic hostility but Nuwan Pradeep drew first blood, dismissing India captain Virat Kohli (21) who again succumbed to his penchant for pushing at deliveries outside the off-stump.
Rohit Sharma (50) looked more convincing, hitting Pradeep for back-to-back boundaries and bringing up his fourth Test fifty before pulling a short Prasad delivery to fine leg. Stuart Binny (49) came up with a more eventful knock — playing some risky shots, surviving a stumping opportunity, being hit on the helmet by Prasad and eventually falling agonisingly short of his second Test fifty.
Debutant Naman Ojha (35) and Amit Mishra (39) frustrated Sri Lanka while Ravichandran Ashwin (58) registered his fifth Test fifty before being the last man out. Sri Lanka wobbled early in their chase with Ishant Sharma dismissing Tharanga before Umesh Yadav sent back Dimuth Karunaratne — both caught by wicketkeeper Naman Ojha for nought. Ishant, who had an animated altercation with Prasad earlier in the day, also dismissed Dinesh Chandimal before giving the batsman a send-off, an act that earned him a 65 percent match fee fine in the first Test. — Reuters
India: 312
SL: 201
India (21/3 in 8.1 overs)
C Pujara b Prasad 0
L Rahul b Pradeep 2
A Rahane lbw b Pradeep 4
VKohli c Tharanga b Pradeep 21
R Sharma c Pradeep b Prasad 50
S Binny c Tharanga b Prasad 49
N Ojha c Karunaratne b Herath 35
A Mishra run out 39
R Ashwin c Perera b Prasad 58
U Yadav c Herath b Pradeep 4
I Sharma not out 2
Extras (B-1 LB-1 W-3 NB-5) 10
Total (all out in 76 ov) 274
FOW: 1-0 2-2 3-7 4-64 5-118 6-160 7-179 8-234 9-269
D Prasad 19-3-69-4
N Pradeep 17-2-62-4
R Herath 22-0-89-1
A Mathews 6-3-11-0
T Kaushal 12-2-41-0
Sri Lanka IInd innings
U Tharanga c Ojha b I Sharma 0
K Silva batting 24
D Karunaratne c Ojha b Yadav 0
D Chandimal c Kohli b I Sharma 18
A Mathews batting 22
Extras (LB-2, NB-1) 10
Total (3 wkts in 18.1 ov) 67
FOW: 1-1, 2-2, 3-21
I Sharma 7-2-14-2
U Yadav 5-1-32-1
S Binny 4-1-13-0
A Mishra 2-0-2-0
R Ashwin 0.1-0-4-0
326: The highest target chased successfully at the SSC in Tests. Sri Lanka had done that against Zimbabwe in 1998. Teams setting a target of 250 or more at this venue have lost only once in 17 instances before this Test
22: Years since India won a series on Sri Lankan soil. India had last won a Test series in Sri Lanka under Mohammed Azharuddin’s captaincy with a 1-0 verdict in 1993
98: Runs scored by Amit Mishra in this Test — the fourth highest by any batsman from No. 8 or lower at the SSC
1968: Last time India posted a total higher than the 274 they made in their second innings after having lost their first three wickets for ten runs or less. India had made 279 runs in the first innings in Brisbane after having lost three wickets for just nine runs

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