As Day three of the Colombo Test came to an early end thanks to rain playing spoil-sport, India were left wondering as to whether they really do have the gall and gumption to finally see off Sri Lanka post the home side’s amazing fightback.
Virat Kohli’s side really looks in danger of throwing away this Test match as the Sri Lankan bowlers scythed through their top-order and left them stuttering at 21 for 3 at stumps.
Quite ironically this was the very same Indian team which had meted out a similar treatment to the home side early when the day began, bowling out Sri Lanka for 201 for a 111-run lead.
If Cheteshwar Pujara (145*) carried his bat throughout India’s first innings then Ishant Sharma’s superb five for 54 had the Sri Lankan’s hopping around.
But all that seemed to matter little with India losing their top three batsmen for just seven runs on the board as Nuwan Pradeep (two for 6) and Dhammika Prasad (one for 8) suddenly seemed to have sprung fangs!
First innings centurion Pujara (0) was castled by a peach from Prasad just two balls into the second essay, with the ball pitching on middle and angling away to disturb the stumps.
What followed next was even more carnage as KL Rahul (2) once again fell cheaply, shouldering arms to a Pradeep’s delivery which sharply tucked in and shattered the off-stump.
Then next to go was Ajinkya Rahane (4) as Pradeep’s sharp in coming delivery had the former in knots at the crease thus resulting in a leg-before dismissal.
Though skipper Virat Kohli (1*) and Rohit Sharma (14) left the field at stumps with their wickets intact, they have their lucky stars to thank as rain provided them an opportunity to re-think their strategy and make that extra effort to set Sri Lanka a competitive target to chase come Day four.
With the game oscillating in Sri Lanka’s favor as for now, it would be interesting to see whether the home side take advantage of the help from the track and deal India further blows or if Kohli’s and his men bounce back.
A see-saw match it has been; wonder what next!