Woeful Sri Lanka on brink of their biggest defeat

Lunch Sri Lanka 205 and 145 for 8 (Chandimal 53*, Lakmal 19*, Ashwin 3-50) trail India 610 for 6 dec. by 260 runs
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It is not easy to keep turning up after you have wasted all the good fortune in one Test and then lost the second Test on the first day itself. Sri Lanka’s downward slide continued into the first session of the fourth day as they gift-wrapped two wickets to India, who now need two more to take an unassailable lead in the series.

Beginning the day 384 behind and needing to bat about five sessions to save the Test, Sri Lanka were expected to go down, but the point of interest was whether they would make India – already resting players and playing on pitches that reduce home advantage in order to prepare for South Africa – work hard for their wickets. Lahiru Thirimanne and Angelo Mathews answered in the negative.

Before that, though, Dimuth Karunaratne encountered some tough luck with a freak short leg catch from M Vijay sending him back in the seventh over of the day. Having survived 61 balls, Thirimanne then scooped a wide half-volley straight to point. Mathews soon lobbed Ravindra Jadeja straight to mid-off to end his 32-ball innings. With no hope left, Dasun Shanaka threw his bat at everything, connecting well enough for a four and two sixes, but not well enough when he skied one to end his eight-ball 17. Once given a whiff, R Ashwin was too good for Dilruwan Perera and Rangana Herath, whom he sent back for ducks in the space of three balls.

Probably expecting more of the same capitulation, play was extended by 15 minutes to see if India could wrap the game up before lunch but Sri Lanka just about hung in. Some of the capitulation was down to accurate and skilful bowling on a deteriorating surface, but India will be the first ones to say they have worked harder for wickets. The good bowling was evident in how Niroshan Dickwella was forced by Ishant Sharma to play at a length ball outside off in a spell that he extracted each-way reverse swing, playing with the scrambled minds of the batsmen.

The only matter of contest in the second session was if Ashwin could go ahead and take his 300th wicket and if Sri Lanka could avoid India’s biggest Test win – innings and 239 runs as of now – and their own biggest Test loss – innings and 229 runs as of now.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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