India vs Sri Lanka: Lahiru Thirimanne, Dimuth Karunaratne need to lead way for visitors to salvage near-impossible draw

Sri Lanka need Lahiru Thirimanne and Dimuth Karunaratne, the two unbeaten batsmen at stumps on Day 3, to forge a solid partnership on Monday to keep Sri Lanka's hopes of keeping the series level alive.

FirstCricket Staff, Nov 27, 2017 07:15:06 IST

The third day of the second Test between India and Sri Lanka could not have been more one-sided. It was a day that highlighted the difference in quality between the two sides.

India, resuming from their daunting overnight score of 312/2, were in for a run fest on Sunday as captain Virat Kohli and middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma entered the Indian centurions' list in this match, guiding India to a commanding first innings score of 610/6. That was before Ishant Sharma struck early to leave Sri Lanka at 21/1 at stumps.

Lahiru Thirimanne was unbeaten on 9 at stumps on Day 3 of the 2nd Test. AP

Lahiru Thirimanne was unbeaten on 9 at stumps on Day 3 of the 2nd Test. AP

Pujara, who took 16 deliveries to collect his first run of the day, added 22 runs to his overnight score of 121 before castled by a loopy delivery from Dasun Shanaka. Ajinkya Rahane extended his lean patch as he departed after struggling his way after scoring 2, with the Sri Lankans sensing a comeback into the game on either side of lunch on the third day.

Kohli, however, took the attack to the visitors and was ably supported from the other end by Rohit, who was playing his first Test in over a year. In a well-constructed innings that was dotted with boundaries at regular intervals, Kohli not only brought up his 10th century this year as captain — a record in its own right — but went on to collect his fifth double-century, joining the legendary Ricky Ponting for the record of most 200s as skipper.

In a match that has witnessed a couple of comebacks in the Indian camp, Rohit announced himself once again in the five-day format as he brought up his first Test century in over four years, with Kohli waiting for him to reach the milestone before declaring the innings.

The Islanders were expected to maintain vigil right from the start, and preserve their wickets going into the fourth day. Young opener Sadeera Samarawickrama, who suffered a nasty blow to his rib cage while fielding at short-leg on Day 2, departed off just the second ball of the innings without a run against his name as he decided to raise his arms to a sharp in-swinger from Ishant that clipped the top of his off-stump, leaving the visitors in further disarray.

Given the state that they find themselves in, with their lack of plan and discipline against such a strong side being the primary reason behind it, there isn't much that will stop them from succumbing to an innings loss, and conceding the series lead. One would hardly find a fan or a pundit out there that would disagree with the notion.

However, nobody quite expected them to put Kohli and company under the mat at Eden either. Nobody gave them a chance ahead of the two-Test series against Pakistan in the Gulf, for further reference.

Yes, the Sri Lankans have a whole Everest to climb if they are to save this match, let alone win it, and will require captain Dinesh Chandimal or coach Nic Pothas, or both, to fire their team up with a pep talk straight out of a sports movie for the batting order to make it through the next two days. Thirimanne has had his moment in the series so far, scoring a half-century at Kolkata, as did few others in the squad.

A solid partnership between him and Karunaratne is what the visitors need to get the motion going in their favour. One may recount the stonewalling effort by AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla and the rest of the South Africans at Delhi two years ago, dragging the match into the final session of Day 5 from a hopeless situation before finally crumbling to a 337-run loss.

It might serve the Sri Lankans some good if they revisit that effort, and may improvise on this occasion.

Updated Date: Nov 26, 2017 20:06:22 IST

World Cup 2019 Points Table

Team p w l nr pts
New Zealand 5 4 0 1 9
England 5 4 1 0 8
Australia 5 4 1 0 8
India 4 3 0 1 7
Bangladesh 5 2 2 1 5
Sri Lanka 5 1 2 2 4
West Indies 5 1 3 1 3
South Africa 6 1 4 1 3
Pakistan 5 1 3 1 3
Afghanistan 5 0 5 0 0

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
6 Sri Lanka 3462 94
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 5720 124
2 India 5990 122
3 New Zealand 4121 114
4 South Africa 4647 111
5 Australia 4805 109
6 Pakistan 4107 93
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
6 New Zealand 4056 254