New Delhi:After a hard toiling day, India managed to take a small lead of 14 runs over Sri Lanka at the end of third day's play in Colombo. The visitors were 161 at the loss of five wickets at stumps.
Bundling Sri Lanka for 396 runs, India began their chase in style with Indian openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir dealing in boundaries. But in the post-tea session Sri Lanka's fast bowler Dammika Prasad struck to see them back in the pavilion. After a good 51-run partnership, the opening pair of Sehwag and Gambhir fell in his successive overs.
Sehwag was caught by Thilan Samaraweera for 34 runs off Prasad. The Delhi opener in his short stint smashed 7 boundaries only to play a reckless shot to throw his wicket. Gambhir soon followed his senior partner as he tried to pull a delivery going out side the off stump. He failed to middle it well and ball castled his wicket before taking an inside edge.
Sourav Ganguly, who came ahead of Sachin, added 43 runs with Dravid for the third wicket but Muttiah Muralitharan with his 'doosra' bamboozled him and caught him plumb for 18 runs. The ball pitched in line and hit his front pad. After Ganguly fell, Patel was sent ahead of Sachin and Laxman but he could not capitalise the opportunity as Mendis scalped his wicket for just one run. Sachin Tendulkar came out to bat but he too did not last long and fell to Ajantha Mendis for 14 runs.
Though, Laxman came out to bat in the second innings, he used Gautam Gambhir as his runner. Lanky pacer Ishant Sharma has been diagnosed with right gluteus (buttocks) muscle contusion and according to reports can't even walk properly. With two days to go in the match, these are not ominous signs.
Earlier in the day, resuming from their overnight score of 251/6, Sri Lankans added 145 to extend their first innings lead to 147 runs. Zaheer Khan, Kumble and Harbhajan picked three wickets apiece while Kumar Sangakkara top scored with 144 runs.
Sangakkara stood like a wall and played an anchor's innings to give his side an upper hand over the visitors. Captain Anil Kumble himself had a go at the danger man and removed him. Sangakkara made 144 with the help of 14 boundaries before nicking a delivery going to the keeper from near the off-stump.
Zaheer Khan dismissed Prasantha Jayawardene, who added 80 runs with Sangakkara for the seventh wicket, missed out on his fifty by just one run. Sri Lankan tail-enders Dammika Prasad and Ajantha Mendis tested Indian bowlers before Harbhajan and Kumble put an end to their heroics.