India vs Sri Lanka | Talking points from Day 3 of the third Test

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India vs Sri Lanka | Talking points from Day 3 of the third Test

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SportsCafe Desk


On a day when Angelo Matthews and Dinesh Chandimal gave India a taste of their own medicine, the hosts fought back brilliantly with a flurry of wickets in the final session to restrict the Lankans to 356/9 at stumps. Here are the main talking points from all the action from Day 3 in Delhi.

Brief Scores : India 536/7 (Virat Kohli 243, Murali Vijay 155; Lakshan Sandakan 4/167, P Gamage 2/95) lead Sri Lanka 356/9 (Dinesh Chandimal 147*, Angelo Matthews 111; R Ashwin 3/90, Mohammed Shami 2/74) by 180 runs.

Preparation for South Africa? Nah....

After the Eden Gardens curator provided a wicket that Headingley would have been proud to put out, Virat Kohli had come out and asserted that it was the management’s call to opt for swinging wickets. The Indian skipper had claimed that with virtually no time to prepare for the upcoming tour, this would be India’s way to getting accustomed to the conditions that the Proteas have to offer. However, that has most certainly has not been the case in the third test. After a docile pitch in Nagpur, Delhi provided, if it was even possible, a tamer wicket.

In the X number of wickets that have fallen in the three days of cricket, only a handful can be attributed to a good delivery. If recreating conditions for South Africa tour is what the Kotla curators were going for, they have failed drastically. Angelo Matthews scored a century after a gap of 36 innings, which included matches against Zimbabwe and West Indies. Dinesh Chandimal, too, scored his third century of the year, the other two coming against Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Butterfingers !!

Not taking anything away from Matthews’ innings, but if commentators still insist on using the cliched “Catches win matches”, it's only because its true. After Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli had dropped sitters on Day 2, the trend continued on Day 3 as well. It started with Rohit Sharma doing his best recreation of Dhawan’s drop when Matthews was a couple short of his first Test century in over two years. Then it was Vijay Shankar’s turn to mess up his first major contribution to the team. Standing at mid off, the 26-year-old got a freebie but somehow the ball went right through his fingers for a boundary. 

While many might brush aside the drops as a bad day at the office, it should be an area of concern. Since 2011, India are ranked third on the list of most number of drops in the slip cordon alongside Zimbabwe and West Indies. This might not play a big part in the way a home series against Sri Lanka turns out, but a Hashim Amla or Dean Elgar drop might come back to haunt them in the much-awaited tour. 

The fast bowling conundrum

The only major positive that India can take out of the game is the performance of their pacers. After Shami sizzled with the ball yesterday, it was Ishant Sharma’s turn to make a case for his inclusion in the squad for the South Africa tour. Bowling at pace and with a lot of bounce, the lanky pacer kept the Sri Lankans honest and had it not been for the dropped catches, his numbers in the first innings would definitely have been better than the 2/93 he ended up with.  

With Bhuvneshwar Kumar the only player who is guaranteed a spot in the playing XI, the Indian management have a happy problem on their hands. While all four pacers could, in an unlikely scenario, find themselves in the playing XI, all three have different qualities to offer the team. With Shami combining pace and swing brilliantly, he is the front-runner. However, the bounce of Ishant Sharma and new-found accuracy of Umesh Yadav are great qualities to have in your arsenal as well.

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