Sri Lanka looked to be gritting it out with a 135-run stand between Angelo Mathews and Kusal Perera. However, the second new ball reaped rich dividends. Ishant sent back Mathews for 110 while the rest of the tail collapsed in a heap. India’s 117-run win gave them their first series win in Sri Lanka after 22 years and it was also Virat Kohli’s first win as skipper. Relive all the highlights here: (SCORECARD)
16: 10 hrs IST: Cheteshwar Pujara, who was named Man of the Match for his knock of 145*, says facing the new ball was challenging, it was an opportunity as well. My preparation was good, and my experience in International cricket has helped. Angelo Mathews, the Sri Lankan skipper said the batting flopped again and the bowlers were outstanding.Virat Kohli says it feels nice to win in Sri Lanka for the first time in 22 years. R Ashwin, the Man of the series with 21 wickets, has credited the Indian fielders for his performance.
15:53 hrs IST: The new ball was the key on this SSC wicket. Sri Lanka had dominated most of the day thanks to a fine 135-run stand between Mathews and Kusal Perera. The left-handed wicketkeeper, who was making his debut, made back to back fifties but his dismissal just before the stroke of tea opened the floodgates. India had got the new ball and Ishant, along with Ashwin, ripped through the lower order to seal a memorable series win. This is only the third time in their Test history that they have won a series after being down 0-1.
15:44 hrs IST: There it is! A great moment for India. First series win against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka after 22 years. Their overseas jinx has been broken. Virat Kohli will be a happy man. This is his first series win as skipper. Coming back to the final wicket, Pradeep played down the wrong line to Mishra’a googly and was trapped plumb in front.
15:40 hrs IST: Double strike for Ashwin and India one wicket away from a famous win. Prasad c Binny b Ashwin 6 (4).
Prasad mistimes the lofted shot and Binny takes the catch at mid-off. Two wickets for Ashwin and India are on the cusp of a famous victory.
15:37 hrs IST: Another one goes and India are closing in on a win. Is there anything that Ashwin cannot do? He gets wickets with the old ball, gets it with the new ball as well. Herath LBW Ashwin 11 (23).
Ashwin gets this flighted delivery to drift in sharply and Herath plays down the wrong line to get hit on the front pad.
15:28 hrs IST: Herath smashes two boundaries off Umesh Yadav but one feels it is only a matter of time before the three wickets are taken. However, Sri Lanka will not go down without a fight.
15:20 hrs IST: This is probably game and series for India. Ishant, what a bowler! This is his 200th Test wicket. Take a bow. Ishant pitches it full and straight with the new ball, it zips through and Mathews plays down the wrong line. The ball hits the back pad and the umpire gives it out. Mathews is gutted as he walks away but it has been a fantastic knock.
15:18 hrs IST: India have taken the second new ball and Ishant will open the bowling with it. Crucial period this for both teams. Two slips and a gully in place.
15:15 hrs IST; We are now in the final session of the final Test. Both teams still have a chance. Mathews, unbeaten on 110*, holds the key for Sri Lanka. Ishant and Ashwin, India’s bowlers, hold the other key. It has all boiled down to this. Which team will come out on top?
15:00 hrs IST: That will be tea at the SSC. Sri Lanka are just about hanging in there with Angelo Mathews unbeaten on 110. However, Kusal Perera’s dismissal for 70 has brought the focus back on India. With the new ball available now, India will be going all out to take the remaining four wickets. The final session of this final Test will be intriguing.
14:53 hrs IST: Loud appeal for an LBW and an appeal for a catch! Ashwin is causing all sorts of problems to Herath. The spin and variations in length is too much to handle for a batsman of Herath’s calibre. The new ball is also due in the next over. Will India take it or will spinners continue?
14:51 hrs IST: India have gotten back their focus after the wicket of Kusal Perera. How much more will Mathews contribute? Can the tail support their skipper in what has been an epic knock? Only 20 minutes to go for tea.
14:45 hrs IST: Oh dear! What a time to go! Poor shot in the circumstances. There is an altercation between Kusal Perera and the Indian fielders as he leaves. Kusal Perera c Rohit Sharma b Ashwin 70 (106).
What a way to go. Kusal reverse sweeps this flighted delivery straight to Rohit Sharma at point and the Indians are jubilant. However, on the way, there is an altercation again between Perera and some Indian fielders. Ends a fabulous knock from the debutant wicketkeeper batsman and the 135-run stand has given Sri Lanka hope.
14:39 hrs IST: Very interesting situation here in the match. The tables have turned. Sri Lanka need 147 runs more for a win and they have five wickets remaining. They also have 42 overs left in the day. Do Sri Lanka go for the victory or do they just play for safety?
14:31 hrs IST: Brilliant stuff from Mathews. His nickname is Superman and he has lived up to that monicker. He is pumped up as he notches up his seventh Test century and second against India. He opens the bat face and runs down a short ball from Binny to third man. The entire SSC stands up and applauds a magnificent ton from a magnificent player.
14:22 hrs IST: The partnership between Mathews and Perera is worth 112 currently. Mathews is having some nervous moments but Perera has batted with admirable maturity.
14:17 hrs IST: Ohhh, Nervy moments for Mathews as he nears his hundred! Binny floats a widish delivery outside off and Mathews goes for the cut but the ball just misses the outside edge. He again gets beaten two balls later. Mathews is clearly feeling the pressure.
14:11 hrs IST: Loud appeal for an LBW but not given! That is another poor decision from umpire Nigel Llong. Mishra bowls this flatter legbreak and Mathews looks to cover the line but he misses and gets hit on the pad. Mishra and India vehemently appeal but the umpire suggested that he had edged it. India cannot believe it. Replays show that there was NO edge. This could prove to be costly.
14:05 hrs IST: Kusal Perera has done it! Back to back fifties for him on debut. He joins Dinesh Chandimal as the other person to have achieved this feat. Chandimal did it against South Africa in Durban in 2011.
13:55 hrs IST: Perera is batting very much like his idol, Sanath Jayasuriya. In the last ball, when he cut a wide ball to deep point, he leapt and got on top of the bounce, very much like how Jayasuriya would have done.
13:49 hrs IST: Change of bat for Perera as he toe-ends a pull from Ishant to mid wicket. These two are doing a great job so far. Sri Lanka can sense something. Perera gets beaten two balls later as he tries to run a ball down to third man.
13:48 hrs IST: Edged but safe! Turn and bounce for Ashwin. Mathews goes back and looks to glance it to fine leg, the extra bounce takes the glove and goes away to the fine leg fence. Anguished shouts of catch from the near-by fielders.
13:45 hrs IST: The partnership between Mathews and Perera is now 83, which is the highest for the hosts in this Test. In the first innings, Herath and Perera shared a 79-run stand.
13:41 hrs IST: The pitch has absolutely flattened out. If one has to look at the mode of dismissals for Sri Lanka today, then it was due to the poor shot selection of the batsman. Kaushal Silva fell to a horrendous shot while Thirimanne turned the bat face too early.
13:32 hrs IST: Ishant back in the attack. He has been the best bowler for India in this Test and all hopes rest on him. Both batsmen have settled in and he will have to work extra hard to break this stand. Two slips and a gully in place.
13:23 hrs IST: In the air but safe! Mathews attempts a sweep off Ashwin and the ball takes the glove and lobs over the leg slip fielder. India are in that zone where a wicket is not too far away but the batsmen are just hanging in there.
13:17 hrs IST: Both Perera and Mathews are starting to use their feet to the spinners in order to cover the line. The pitch has eased off and it is becoming easier for the batsmen to play them off the front foot.
13:13 hrs IST: Close call for Mathews! He prods forward to this flighted delivery from Mishra and nudges it to short leg. He steps out of the crease and Rahul, who is the fielder there, back flicks it to Naman Ojha but Mathews makes it back just in time. He has to be very careful here.
13:05 hrs IST: The fifty-partnership is up between these two batsmen. They are doing a great job and are eating up valuable time. However, there are no signs of panic from the Indian fielders.
12:58 hrs IST: Good bowling from Ashwin. He beats Perera with a delivery that dips on him and it breaks away. Next ball, he bowls a straight delivery that makes him hurry into his defence. However, he undoes all the hard work by bowling a short and wide ball that is cracked to deep point for a boundary.
12:55 hrs IST: Loud appeal for an LBW from Umesh Yadav but Mathews is safe! Late seam movement from Yadav but the impact was outside the line of off stump. It was also too high.
12:51 hrs IST: Confident start from Mathews and Perera after the lunch break. Both get going with a boundary off Umesh Yadav. That has gotten the small crowd at the SSC going.
12:46 hrs IST: Umesh Yadav to start off from the other end. He has troubled Kusal Perera in ODIs with the delivery that swings back in from over the wicket. Here, he is starting round the wicket.
12:42 hrs IST: Ashwin to start off proceedings. Slip, leg slip and short leg in place. The pitch has eased out for the spinners. The turn is really slow and only Amit Mishra is troubling the batsmen with his flight and guile.
12:35 hrs IST: Plenty of things to look forward to in the second session. Can India take the five wickets quickly and wrap up a series win? Will Ishant take one more wicket to get him into the illustrious 200-wicket club? All answers in just five minutes.
12:00 hrs IST: That will be lunch. Sri Lanka will be slightly satisfied by their progress. Although they lost Thirimanne, Mathews’ fifty has given them a faint ray of hope. However, the advantage is firmly with India and they will be looking to wrap up the Test match in the second session.
11:52 hrs IST: Kusal Perera has looked impressive on his Test debut. He has handled the spinners well and has negotiated the fast bowlers well. A change from the normal dashing, aggressive opener for T20Is.
11:43 hrs IST: Catch dropped? Naman Ojha could not hang onto a ball that goes past the outside edge. Replays in: There was no edge. In the next over, Mathews notches up his 23rd fifty but will it be enough to save Sri Lanka? They are 120/5, needing a further 266 runs for victory.
11:39 hrs IST: While India are closing in on a series win, two maestros came together to have a memorable evening. It was cricket with a musical touch as Sachin Tendulkar and AR Rahman met.
11:31 hrs IST: However, it does not matter. The rain might not save Sri Lanka at all as R Ashwin breaks this stubborn stand. Lahiru Thirimanne c Rahul b Ashwin 12 (47).
Ashwin gets this delivery to turn away from leg stump as Thirimanne looks to turn it to mid wicket, however, he gets a leading edge to silly point where Rahul leaps up and parries the ball in the air to catch it on the rebound. Sri Lanka 107/5, needing 279 more runs for a victory.
11:29 hrs IST: For all people concerned about the weather, there are currently no showers and there is no prediction of rain in the evening as well.
11:23 hrs IST: Amit Mishra has come into the attack. Sri Lanka have had their problems against legspin and they will be aware of the threat he poses.
11:16 hrs IST: Ishant Sharma is just one wicket away from 200 Test wickets. Playing in his 65th Test match, he might be the slowest to get there when he achieves it.
11:05 hrs IST: Both Mathews and Thirimanne have been struck on the hand by Ishant but they are dourly fighting it out there. With every passing over, they are looking more and more comfortable at the crease.
11:00 hrs IST: So far, Thirimanne is playing the second fiddle perfectly. He is just eating up deliveries and tiring the bowlers out. On the other hand, Mathews is batting sensibly. Sri Lanka will be aware that this approach might make them go into their shell, thus opening the door for India.
10:46 hrs IST: Mathews is once again batting well in the fourth innings of a Test match. Just for your information, he averages 75 in the fourth innings of a Test, so he knows how to contribute when the chips are down.
10:37 hrs IST: The ICC have tweeted that Ishant, Chandimal, Thirimanne and Prasad have been charged for the on-field altercation on day four. You can read it about it here.
Chandimal, Sharma, Thirimanne Prasad charged for breaching ICC Code of Conduct. Details to be announced after the conclusion of the Test.
— ICC Media (@ICCMediaComms) September 1, 2015
10:32 hrs IST: Another close call for Thirimanne. Ishant slants this delivery across at 87.7 mph and it bounces up a touch more, Thirimanne goes for the drive but gets beaten. Ishant cannot believe it and Virat Kohli has a bemused look on his face.
10:30 hrs IST: Fascinating battle out there. Mathews is looking cool and composed while Ishant is hustling in and causing problems. The Sri Lankan skipper holds the key to everything if India are to be denied a series win.
10:21 hrs IST: Oh boy! A nasty bouncer and that hits Lahiru Thirimanne flush on the right hand. It lifts up from a good length and Thirimanne takes his eyes off the ball. The physio has run out on to the field attending to Thirimanne. He is alright and will resume batting but this is nasty stuff from Ishant, make no mistake about it.
10:19 hrs IST: Missed run-out! Brain fade from Mathews. He walks a bit to the off side and flicks the ball straight to R Ashwin. There was no chance of a single there and he sets off. Ashwin has a shy at the bowler’s end as the Sri Lankan skipper gives up but the throw is wide. India cannot believe it and Mathews looks up to the sky.
10:15 hrs IST: Sri Lanka’s fans need not despair. There are many instances of teams batting out a full day in order to salvage a draw. The first instance is Faf du Plessis’ grinding knock in Adelaide against Australia in 2012 that saved them from a certain defeat. Other instances that come to mind is the epic partnership between Deep Dasgupta and Rahul Dravid against South Africa in Port Elizabeth in 2001. Will list out more in the coming moments.
10:12 hrs IST: Sri Lanka do not have much batting after this duo. Kusal Janith Perera made 55 in the first innings while Herath can chip in. But really, the bulk of the batting has to be shepherded by both Mathews and Thirimanne.
10:03 hrs IST: Poor, Poor shot and that is the end of Kaushal Silva. Sri Lanka will be very disappointed with that dismissal. Kaushal Silva c Pujara b Umesh Yadav 27 (50).
Short ball from Umesh Yadav and it hurries up on Silva, he aims to pull it but ends up mistiming it totally and Pujara at midwicket takes a simple catch. Silva had pulled well yesterday but on the new day, he perishes.
09:58 hrs IST: There seems to be some issue with Ishant’s landing area. He is having a look but does not seem overtly concerned.
09:54 hrs IST: Ishant Sharma, the new face of India’s aggression, replaces Ashwin from the other end. Can he maintain the same hostility on day four? Three slips and a gully in place.
09:50 hrs IST: Umesh Yadav will begin proceedings from the other end. He had gone for a few runs yesterday and he will be aiming to keep things tight.
09:46 hrs IST: Out come Angelo Mathews and Kaushal Silva. The pressure on these two will be enormous. Ashwin will start proceedings.
09:41 hrs IST: Sri Lanka coach Marvan Atapattu has said the team needs to improve on the final touches and that once the first hour is negotiated well, the pitch becomes easier to bat on.
09:39 hrs IST: India are on the cusp of a famous victory while Sri Lanka are facing an uphill battle in order to save the match and the series. The objective will be clear for the hosts. They will be hoping that they do not lose these seven wickets quickly. However, after a limp display at the P Sara Oval, Sri Lanka’s batsmen have an enormous task when one looks at the Indian bowling.
India are on the cusp of a famous win. After 22 years, they are primed to beat Sri Lanka in their own den and claim a series win. Thanks to Ishant Sharma’s twin burst, Sri Lanka were reduced to 67/3 in pursuit of a record 386, 319 of them which would be needed on a final day track that has offered little support to the batsmen.
But the task for India is cut out still. Despite an inexperienced opposition, Virat Kohli’s bowlers will need to test their luck against the elements. If the weather holds, India will win – that has been the common refrain from many, including the legendary Sunil Gavaskar. If the rain does not play truant, Kohli’s bunch will do what Ganguly, Dravid and Laxman could not. But it still is some way off.
Sri Lanka have pulled off a miracle on this very ground, at the SSC – where they chased down 326 to stun Zimbabwe. But then those were the days of De Silva, Jayasuriya and Ranatunga. These are the days Sri Lankan cricket feared would come but had no back-up for. Gone are Jawawardene and Sangakkara. Where will the resistance and the charge come from?
In 1998, De Silva and Ranatunga neutralised Streak, who had taken all four wickets. The duo attacked the other bowlers and a memorable victory was sealed. Glory days were round the corner for the Lankans. Tuesday could be all about survival.
Day 3 Recap
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. (Read more here)
Ishant Sharma’s Colombo Theatrics Upset Sunil Gavaskar
On Monday, cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar had both praise and criticism for Ishant Sharma. India’s leading paceman has been on fire against Sri Lanka in the ongoing third and decisive Test at the Sinhalese Cricket Club in Colombo. But according to Gavaskar, Ishant’s on-field misdemeanor has left a lot to be desired. (Read more here)