Sa’adi Thawfeeq reporting from Galle
GALLE: A Test match which seemed destined for a three-day finish at the Galle International Stadium was given a new lease of life by Dinesh Chandimal who played an extraordinary innings to score a career best 162 not out that left India chasing 176 for victory.
By the close India had lost the wicket of opener Lokesh Rahul for five to be 23 for one wicket with Shikhar Dhawan on 12 and nightwatchman Ishant Sharma on five.
India require a further 153 runs for victory to go one-up in the three-Test series but their task won’t be easy on a wearing pitch.
At lunch time on the third day Sri Lanka looked headed for an innings defeat with half the side out for 108 and still trailing India by 84 runs.
However the afternoon session produced an astonishing turn of events in the Test as Chandimal took control of the Indian bowling that had upto that point been dominant,
His astonishing counter-attack on the Indian spinners produced a mountain of runs as Sri Lanka rattled off 155 in the post lunch session off 28 overs for the loss of Lahiru Thirimanne’s wicket.
The Sri Lankan vice-captain short of runs in the series helped Chandimal in a face-saving stand of 125 for the sixth wicket before being dismissed for 44 when he edged Ravichandran Ashwin to Ajinkya Rahane at slip.
While Chandimal continued to flay the Indian bowling at one end piling on the pressure with every runs he scored, Jehan Mubarak joined him in another useful partnership that produced 82 runs.
Mubarak without a fifty in 12 Tests was in sight of one but was agonizingly dismissed for 49 when he edged Amit Mishra to Rahane at slip.
Rahane also held onto the catch offered by Rangana Herath off Mishra to establish a new world record of eight catches in a Test match surpassing the effort of five others who jointly held the previous record of seven – Greg Chappell, Yajuvindra Singh, Hashan Tillakaratne, Stephen Fleming and Mathew Hayden.
Chandimal continued as much as he could to shield the tail and at the same time pick up runs. Tharindu Kaushal helped him raise the score by a further 41 runs by staying with him for 41 minutes during which time his share was only seven.
Nuwan Pradeep didn’t last long as he fell to Ashwin giving the Indian off spinner his fourth wicket of the innings and his third haul of ten in a match.
Chandimal was left unconquered on 162 scored off 169 balls with the aid of 19 fours and four sixes. It was his highest score in Tests and his second made at Galle. It was a chanceless innings although he had a close call at 10 on the stroke of lunch when India confidently appealed for a catch that came off the boot of silly point fielder Lokesh Rahul which was held by bowler Mishra, but after several reviews was given in favour of the batsman after several reviews.
The absence of DRS for the series has left both sides dependent on the umpires’ judgement for decisions.
SRI LANKA 1ST INNINGS 183
INDIA 1ST INNINGS 375
SRI LANKA 2ND INNINGS
D Karunaratne b Ashwin 0
K Silva b Mishra 0
D Prasad c Rahane b Aaron 3
K Sangakkara c Rahane b Ashwin 40
A Mathews c Rahul b Mishra 39
D Chandimal not out 162
L Thirimanne c Rahane b Ashwin 44
J Mubarak c Rahane b Harbhajan 49
R Herath c Rahane b Mishra 1
T Kaushal c Saha b I Sharma 7
N Pradeep b Ashwin 3
Extras (b-1, lb-2, nb-8, w-8) 19
Total (all out, 82.2 overs) 367
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Karunaratne), 2-1 (Silva), 3-5 (Prasad), 4-92 (Sangakkara), 5-95 (Mathews), 6-220 (Thirimanne), 7-302 (Mubarak), 8-319 (Herath), 9-360 (Kaushal), 10-367 (Pradeep).
Bowling: Ashwin 28.2-6-114-4, Mishra 17-2-61-3 (nb2), Harbhajan 17-0-73-1, Aaron 7-0-39-1 (w8), I Sharma 13-0-77-1 (nb6)
INDIA 2ND INNINGS
L Rahul lbw b Herath 5
S Dhawan not out 12
I Sharma not out 5
Total (one wicket at close, 8 overs) 23
Fall of wickets: 1-12 (Rahul).
Bowling: Prasad 2-1-2-0, Herath 3-0-13-1, Kaushal 3-1-8-0.