Jadeja, Shami keep India on course for 2-0

December 5, 2017

Delhi: Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja ripped through Sri Lanka’s top order after India set them 410 to win the Delhi Test or survive the best part of four sessions to save it. Bad light brought the fourth day to an end with a theoretical 13 overs remaining, with Sri Lanka struggling at 31 for 3.
Sri Lanka came within six balls of going to stumps just one down. Nigel Llong had a long look at his light meter before motioning Jadeja to bowl, and he duly picked up two wickets in what turned out to be the last over of the day. First, Dimuth Karunaratne stretched forward to defend a topspinner that dipped on him, and nicked to the keeper, playing for non-existent turn. Three balls later, the nightwatchman Suranga Lakmal made a mess of his attempt to block a stump-to-stump delivery, cue-ending the ball into the ground and back onto his stumps.
Shami had given India their first breakthrough with an exhibition of searing pace and accuracy. He sent down two bouncers that reared dangerously towards Sadeera Samarawickrama’s head. The batsman evaded the first one, falling onto the floor while swaying out of line, but couldn’t avoid the second, ball kissing his glove and bouncing off his right shoulder to gully.
The effort of those back-to-back bouncers in the Delhi smog quickly told on Shami; he vomited and went off the field thereafter. Lakmal had shown similar symptoms while bowling in the morning session, when Sri Lanka again came out with a number of their fielders wearing face masks.
There was no such discomfort for India’s batsmen in their second innings; three of them scored half-centuries, with the declaration arriving as soon as Rohit Sharma brought up his in the 10th over after tea.
There were two major partnerships in India’s innings. Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara added 77 for the third wicket at just under four-and-a-half an over, and Virat Kohli and Rohit added 90 for the fifth at just under a run-a-ball. Kohli and Rohit only hit eight fours between them, but picked up a steady stream of singles and twos against spread-out fields as Sri Lanka waited for a declaration.
Kohli holed out in a bid for quick runs, soon after reaching his fifty and passing 600 runs for the series.
Having secured a 163-run first-innings lead in the sixth over of the morning, India came out with clear intent to score quickly. M Vijay, normally so watchful outside off stump, repeatedly looked to drive the new ball on the up, and, having hit two fours in this manner, nicked Lakmal behind on 9.
Instead of Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane walked in at No. 3, having scored 4, 0, 2 and 1 in his four previous innings in the series. Rahane likes the ball coming on to the bat, so perhaps this was an effort to have him face a harder, newer ball than normal. The experiment didn’t come off. He struggled to middle the ball in his 37-ball innings, as a control percentage of 64 would suggest, and survived two close lbw shouts before holing out while looking to hit Dilruwan Perera over long-on.
Pujara was the freer-scoring batsman in his third-wicket partnership of 77 with Dhawan. He came out full of urgent intent and was typically twinkle-toed against the spinners, stepping out frequently, working the ball into gaps, often calling “two” loudly as soon as he had hit the ball.
He hit successive fours off Dilruwan early in his innings, an off-drive and a square-cut, and went to lunch batting on 17 off 15 balls. Agencies