India Vs. Sri Lanka | Talking points from day 3 of second Test

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India Vs. Sri Lanka | Talking points from day 3 of second Test

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Rohit George

08/05/2017

Kusal Mendis and Dimuth Karunaratne stitched together a 191-run partnership to take Sri Lanka to 209 for 2 at the end of the third day in their second innings. Earlier, Ravichandran Ashwin’s 5 for 69 meant India enjoyed a massive 439-run lead and also enforced the follow on on the hosts.

Brief Scores: India 622/9 decl. (Cheteshwar Pujara 133, Ajinkya Rahane 132; Rangana Herath 4-154) lead Sri Lanka 183 (Niroshan Dickwella 51; Ravichandran Ashwin 5-69, Ravindra Jadeja 2-84) and 209/2 (Kusal Mendis 110, Dimuth Karunaratne 92*; Hardik Pandya 1-12) by 230 runs

Ravichandran Ashwin continues to spin webs around Sri Lanka

After India posted a colossal total of 622 for 9 in their first innings, Ravichandran Ashwin showed ominous signs of taking over proceedings with the ball as he scalped the first two wickets of the Sri Lankan first innings yesterday itself. And the 30-year-old off spinner picked up from where he had left off this morning as he continued to torment the home side with some vicious turn and bounce. Though there is no denying the fact that Ashwin was aided by the nature of the pitch, he was on top of his game as he forced the Lankan batsmen to play a good number of his deliveries and beat them on most occasions. The off-spinner reaped rich rewards for his efforts as he finished with figures of 5 for 69 as Sri Lanka were dismissed for just 183 in their first innings and conceded a massive 439-run lead to India which saw them being asked to follow on.

Sri Lankan batsmen shoot themselves in the foot

As good as Ashwin's bowling was during Sri Lanka’s first innings, it must also be said that the home side didn’t do themselves any favours with their reckless batting. Given that Sri Lanka had a huge 622-run deficit to try and reduce, they needed to spend as much time as possible at the crease. But for some strange reason, the Lankan batsmen decided to adopt an ultra-aggressive approach to the task which eventually backfired against them. On the other hand, one of the reasons why the Indian batsmen were so successful against the Sri Lankan spinners was because they used their feet to good effect against the spinners and thereby managed to nullify any possible spin that Lankan tweakers would have gotten. And this is something that the Sri Lankan batsmen did not do against the likes of Ashwin and Jadeja in their first innings and it eventually proved to be the cause of Sri Lanka’s downfall.

Kusal Mendis and Dimuth Karunaratne rise to the occasion, yet again

After Sri Lanka were asked to bat again in the second innings after India enforced the follow on, they once again got off to a disastrous start as Umesh Yadav cleaned up  Upul Tharanga in just the third over. While most saw this as a sign of another impending batting collapse, what followed after this left everyone awestruck. Kusal Mendis and Dimuth Karunaratne stitched together an incredible 191-run partnership for the third wicket. The duo’s time at the crease was characterized by aggressive stroke play as they took on the Indian bowlers and hit them to all parts of the ground. But the major difference between Sri Lanka’s first innings and the duo’s partnership was that they were not reckless in their approach as they treated the Indian bowling on merit. While they made no mistake in dispatching the bad deliveries to the boundary, the duo, more importantly, did not try to slog the Indian bowlers. And it resulted in the duo putting up Sri Lanka’s best partnership of the series so far, with Kusal Mendis fittingly reaching his 100 with a boundary of Hardik Pandya. However, just when it seemed like Sri Lanka would end the day without any more loss, Mendis fell to Pandya after a well made 110. But most importantly, it gave Sri Lanka a glimmer of hope that they could possibly still salvage something from the game.   

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