In 2nd test match day 3 Sri Lanka batsmen Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis led a late second innings fightback for Sri Lankan team on Day 3 against India in Colombo. At stumps, Karunaratne was unbeaten on 92, while Mendis was dismissed late in the last session by Hardik Pandya after a knock of 110. The 191-run stand between the two batsmen took Sri Lanka to 209 for 2 at the end of the day, after they were dismissed for 183 earlier in the first innings and forced to follow on. They trail the mammoth first innings score that India put on by 230 runs, and with eight wickets in hand, they will hope to eke out a lead by the end of proceedings tomorrow.
Earlier, it was the Indian bowling on song as the Sri Lankan batting crumbled under pressure. Ravindra Jadeja got the day’s first wicket in the third over of the day when overnight batsman Chandimal was caught by Hardik Pandya at backward square leg off Jadeja. Mendis followed soon after, caught off Umesh Yadav by Kohli after the captain had grassed a previous chance. Jadeja came back to castle de Silva for his 150th Test wicket, even though Dickwella led a small fightback with a gutsy half century. As he was looking to settle in for a long haul, Shami removed him for 51 and it opened a gate of sorts as Rangana Herath and Perera fell soon after. Ashwin got the final say as he dismissed Nuwan Pradeep for a duck to return with another five-wicket haul to end the Sri Lankan innings ar 183, with 439 runs still to go. The toothless batting performance by the Sri Lankans seemed to signal another big victory for the Indians as they put the island team to follow on. The pressure seemed to work on the Lankans as Umesh Yadav got Upul Tharanga out in the opening minutes. However, Mendis and Karunaratne kept their cool and fought back brilliantly, keeping the score board ticking as they arrested the fall of wickets while continuing to score freely.
There were tense moments early on when Mendis was given out by the field umpire on a caught behind appeal, but a successful review reversed the decision. At the tea break, both batsmen were past the half century mark and looked well set. The pair almost survived unscathed into the day but for the breakthrough provided by all rounder Pandya in the dying minutes as he sent the centurion Mendis back to the dressing room.
India will look to capitalise on the breakthrough tomorrow as an innings victory still seems a likely possibility, while Sri Lanka would hope that the Mendis-Karunaratne stand would pump up their batters enough to erase the lead by India and put on a fighting total for India to chase.