Kolkata: India finally had something to cheer about as they ended the fourth day of the first Test match against Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens, on a high.
Resuming play at 165/4, Sri Lanka lost Niroshan Dickwella for 35 which triggered a mini-collapse as they went on to lose the wickets of Dasun Shanaka (0) and skipper Dinesh Chandimal (28) which left them reeling at 201/7 at one stage. After Dilruwan Perera fell for just five runs, hopes of Sri Lanka getting a big lead diminished but Rangana Herath had some other ideas.
Joining forces with Suranga Lakmal, the veteran off-spinner showcased his batting skills as he scored a timely 67 and also built a solid 46-run stand with the lanky paceman which helped Sri Lanka extend their lead to over 100. Mohammed Shami finally ended the Sri Lankan innings at 294 with figures of 4/100. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the best of the Indian bowlers with four wickets to his name too, but he conceded 88 runs. Also this was the first time since 1983 that India’s pacers took all 10 wickets in a Test innings.
However the highlight of the day was Dilruwan Perera’s controversial DRS call for which he referred to the dressing room. After being adjudged lbw by Nigel Llong of the bowling of Shami in the 57th over, Perera had started his walk back to the pavilion but stopped mid way and then turned back and opted for a review.
This incident was reminiscent of Australian skipper Steve Smith’s controversial, ‘brain fade’ moment earlier this year but the Sri Lankan cricket board came to Perera’s aid as they later said in a statement, “Contrary to the assumptions made, there was no “message from the dressing room” involved in the requested review.”
Trailing by 122 runs, the Indian openers came up with a strong reply as both KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan attacked right from the outset and didn’t let the bowlers settle down. Especially, Rahul was the most aggressive amongst the two initially as he hit Lahiru Gamage for three fours in one over to get things going.
The duo were involved in a huge 166-run stand that took the sting out of the Sri Lankan bowling and it was only late in the day that Shanaka found the edge of Dhawan’s bat for a well-made 94.
Rahul (73 n.o) would look to carry on with India’s domination on the last day along with Pujara, who also is set to become the ninth batsman in history to bat five days in a Test match.
India 172 all out and 171/1 (Shikhar Dhawan 94, KL Rahul 73 n.o; Dasun Shanaka 1/29) lead Sri Lanka 294 (Rangana Herath 67, Angelo Mathews 52; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4/88) by 49 runs.