NAGPUR: Not slowly but surely, the second Test was heading towards the inevitable rather quickly. Faced with the seemingly impossible task of batting out two days, Sri Lanka lost seven wickets in an extended first session on Day 4 to slump to 145/8 at lunch.
An Indian innings win is a matter of time, which should happen before tea, for Virat Kohli’s men to take a 1-0 lead into the third and final Test.
Nobody expected Sri Lanka to stonewall the Indian bowlers when play started on morning and they didn’t even try to make a match of it. Specialist batsmen slashing at wide ones, hitting the ball uppishly to mid-off and getting out slogging — there were shots not easily associated with Test cricket in the visiting team’s tale of capitulation.
Resuming at 21/1 needing 384 more to make India bat again, Sri Lanka lost Dimuth Karunaratne in the six over of the day. It was not exactly a reckless shot, as the left-hander’s firm push off Ravindra Jadeja got stuck in Murali Vijay’s hands at the forward short-leg. What followed summed up the mental state of the Sri Lankan team.
Lahiru Thirimanne threw his bat at a wide one from Umesh Yadav to be caught at point, Angelo Mathews hit Ravindra Jadeja to mid-off, Dasun Shanaka got out trying to hit Ravichandran Ashwin out of the ground. Ishant Sharma pulverised the batsmen in between by exploiting the variable bounce. There was no respite for Sri Lanka.
Brief scores: Sri Lanka 205 & 145/8 (Chandimal 53 no, Ashwin 3/50, Jadeja 2/28, Ishant 2/39). India 610/6 decl. Lunch. Day 4.