Three days have gone by since the first Test between India and Sri Lanka at Kolkata's Eden Gardens began. The narrative in the match however, has largely remained consistent.
The Lankans, who earlier pulled off an unlikely 2-0 Test series sweep over Pakistan in the UAE, have continued putting up a strong show in the five-day format as they continue to dominate the Virat Kohli-led India in what has been a rain-affected game so far.
After skittling the Indians out for a modest 172, which could have been a more embarrassing total had it not been for the fight put up by the hosts' lower-order, the Lankan batting order rallied to put up a strong first innings reply, reaching a score of 165 for 4 before the umpires were forced to call for stumps well before the scheduled time due to poor light.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar got the hosts the early breakthroughs when he sent openers Dimuth Karunaratne (8) and Sadeera Samarawickrama (23) back to the pavilion with the islanders losing their first two wickets with just 34 on board.
However, the reliable pair of Lahiru Thirimanne and Angelo Mathews weathered the storm for the visitors rather skilfully, stitching a 99-run stand that helped bring them back on their feet and set themselves up for a sizeable first innings lead.
Both batsmen brought up their half-centuries in the process, with Mathews making a nice comeback into the side after recovering from a calf injury that has condemned him to restrict his on-field skills to just batting.
With captain Dinesh Chandimal and wicket-keeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella at the crease at stumps, both yet to get settled at the crease, one might predict a score easily in excess of 250 under the current circumstances.
The Indian attack however, need to go back in time and revisit the Sri Lanka tour from August, in which they seemed to trigger Sri Lankan batting collapses at will to turn the tide in their favour. While the Lankans appear a much-improved side since that disastrous series, one can never rule out the power of an early breakthrough — the very thing that the Indians need in the morning session of the fourth day.
Given that there isn't much batting experience in the ranks beyond Chandimal and Dickwella (though Dilruwan Perera has had his moments), it will be imperative for the Indian bowlers to get rid of the overnight batsmen without letting them solidify their partnership and thereby shift the momentum.
The Indian attack is world-class in their own backyard after all. They just need to stay patient and stick to their plans, and wait for that one stroke of luck for everything to fall into place.
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