India lose two in pursuit of quick runs

Lunch: India 336 for 7 dec. and 50 for 2 (Pujara 17*, Dhawan 15*) lead Sri Lanka 373 (Chandimal 164, Mathews 111, Ashwin 3-90, Ishant 3-98) by 214 runs

India’s pursuit of quick second-innings runs didn’t quite go to plan on a two-paced fourth-day pitch at the Feroz Shah Kotla as they lost two wickets while scoring 51 runs in 17 overs before lunch. At the break, they led by 214, with Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara at the crease.

Having taken the last remaining wicket in the sixth over of the day and secured a 163-run first-innings lead, 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 Suranga Lakmal behind on 9.

Instead of Pujara, India sent in Ajinkya Rahane, whose four previous innings in this series had brought him scores of 4, 0, 2 and 1. Rahane likes the ball coming on to the bat, so perhaps this was an effort to have him facing 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.

In the end it was Pujara, rather than the normally free-stroking Dhawan, who looked the most fluent of India’s batsmen. By lunch he had moved to 17 off 15 balls and had hit two fours, an off-drive and a square-cut off successive Dilruwan deliveries.

Once again, a number of Sri Lanka’s fielders came out wearing face masks on what was possibly the smoggiest morning of the Test match. Lakmal in particular struggled with the pollution; he vomited on the field and went off briefly before coming back to bowl a short second spell.

Resuming on 147, Dinesh Chandimal extended his score to a career-best 164 before becoming the last man out in Sri Lanka’s innings. He added 30 for the last wicket with Lakshan Sandakan, who ended up unbeaten on 0 off 20 balls. The No. 11 was beaten multiple times by Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami, but defended stoutly when the line was on the stumps.

At the other end, Chandimal went for his shots, and picked up three fours in the morning, two of them with cuts and uppercuts. That shot, in the end, cost him his wicket, as he sliced Ishant straight to Shikhar Dhawan at third man.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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