India played themselves into a position from where they could press for a series clinching win over Sri Lanka in the third and final Test at the SSC grounds.
At tea on the fourth day, India had advanced to 234 for eight wickets to enjoy an overall lead of 345 with four sessions of play remaining in the match.
In comparison to the spate of wickets that fell on the third day (15) today was a much calmer setting with India losing only five wickets in the two sessions of play.
Their total was built around some useful partnerships that frustrated the Lankan bowlers who tried hard to extract something out of a pitch that had slowed down and was offering slow turn except for the odd ball that has bounced more than was expected.
As in the final over before the break India lost a wicket when Amit Mishra who had played a fine innings of 39 was run out to a smart piece of fielding by shortleg fielder Kaushal Silva who hit the stumps with the batsman out of his crease as he stepped out to play a ball from Tharindu Kaushal.
That wicket broke a stubborn partnership of 55 off 95 balls between Mishra and Ravichandran Ashwin who was unbeaten on 27 at the break.
Mishra had a lucky break at 18 when he drove at Kaushal but Mathews at short cover could not hold onto the chance.
Sri Lanka also took the wickets of Stuart Binny for 49 when Dhammika Prasad had him caught at first slip by Tharanga and Nama Ojha for 35 when he got a leading edge to a sweep off Herath that saw the ball end up in covers’ hands.
Binny and Ojha added 42 for the sixth wicket.
Scores: India 312 and 234-8 at tea (Rohit Sharma 50, Stuart Binny 49, Naman Ojha 35, Amit Mishra39, Ravichandran Ashwin 27 n.o., Dhammika Prasad 3/64, Nuwan Pradeep 3/51)
Sri Lanka 201.