Talking points from Day 4 of India-Sri Lanka Test Match

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Talking points from Day 4 of India-Sri Lanka Test Match

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Subhayan Dutta


After Rangana Herath’s heroics gave Sri Lanka a late resurgence on Day 4 to help them get an impressive 123-run lead over India, the hosts started aggressively through Dhawan (94) and Rahul (73*) and cancelled it no time and ended the day with a 49-run lead to wrest control away from the visitors.

Brief scores: India 172/10 & 171/1  (Shikhar Dhawan 94, KL Rahul 73*; Dashun Shanak 29/1) lead Sri Lanka 294/10 (Rangana Herath 67, Angelo Mathews 52; Mohammad Shami 4/100, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4/88) by 49 runs.

Another day another controversy

After Sri Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal created headlines yesterday following his fake fielding controversy, which went unnoticed by the field officials, leaving the Indian dugout and especially Kohli fuming, Dilruwan Perera gave the Indian skipper yet another reason to be infuriated about on Day 4. In the 57th over, after an in-swinging delivery by Mohammad Shami hit him on the back-pad in front of the off-stump, umpire Nigel Llong had raised his finger and Perera looked surer than ever that he was caught plumb as he started walking towards the pavilion. However, as if someone had reminded him that the side had one review left, the 35-year-old turned back and asked for it. The overjoyed Indian players turned glum when the Hawk-eye showed that the impact between ball and pad had been marginally outside the off-stump, with and the decision getting eventually reversed. Alongside Rangana Herath, Perera went on to add 43 crucial runs for the eighth wicket.

While Perera could have cited an instance of ‘brain fade’, which has been quite common among Lankans since Chamara Kapugedera went against the team's decision to field first in Pallekele, repeated replays show one or two hands going up from the Sri Lankan dressing room signalling the batsman to opt for the review. Allegations are doing the rounds and ICC could lay a charge on Sri Lanka for flouting the spirit of the game. Perera is not very famous for his integrity though. In 2012, during a warm-up match in Colombo, Perera chose not to walk out after Andrew Strauss had claimed a catch. The umpires didn’t notice it then and allowed him to bat, which left England players frustrated.


Rangana Herath- Sri Lanka’s most significant cog in Test wheel

It is almost a mystery as to how the 39-year-old all-rounder is still Sri Lanka’s most reliable man in the longest and most enduring format of the game. While players like Brad Hogg and Ashish Nehra chose to limit themselves to T20 cricket when crossed the threshold of 35 years, Herath seems to have been sharpening with every year. Herath tops the list of bowlers who has taken more wickets (200) after turning 35. After a draw seemed like the most likely outcome following third day’s proceedings, Sri Lanka wanted to have as big a lead as possible. Herath walked in when his team was leading by a mere 29 runs and their last three wickets had fallen for just one run. Kohli had surely expected to bundle his opponents within twenty runs, but Sri Lanka’s old man had other plans.


Though India share equal blame for not making him play enough tough deliveries, one cannot take away Herath’s persistence coming such late in the game, when it was more of a lost cause. His 43-run partnership with Perera became the second highest after Sri Lanka’s 99-run partnership for the third wicket. Prolonging the home team’s agony, Herath hit seven fours off 83 balls in 105 minutes before eventually getting dismissed for 67 by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. But, by that time, Sri Lanka had already taken full control of the game. This was also the left-arm spinner’s third fifty in his 86th Test match.


Eden Gardens pitch turns Indian again

When Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar failed to bother Rangana Herath, it was an indication of where the Eden Gardens pitch had gone over the last three days. India needed a composed start in the second innings to bury their ghosts of the first innings, where the Sri Lankan bowlers had broken through their gates with relative ease. The Indian dressing room breathed a sigh of relief when KL Rahul send Lahiru Gamage for three boundaries through cover and mid-off. Things were back to normal once again as the Indian batsmen looked firmly in control of their own fortunes. With the skies clearing up as expected during this time of the year in Kolkata, the game is unlikely to be hindered by rain until the very end. Though an adventurous Shikhar Dhawan had to leave the crease after Shanaka got him caught behind the wicket, India still have nine wickets remaining with Cheteshwar Pujara and a well-settled KL Rahul at the  crease. With a nascent lead of 49 runs, the normal take is to go for a draw in such conditions. But an aggressive skipper of World’s No. 1 Test team might also opt for taking the highway on the last day and leave Sri Lanka a target of 200-220 runs to chase after Lunch.

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