Colombo, Aug 31: India strengthened their hold on the third and final Test against Sri Lanka, extending their lead to 243 by reaching 132/5 . LIVE Scorecard; Day 3 Report Rohit Sharma, 50 off 72 balls, notched up his fourth Test half century as the visitors negotiated the opening session of 37 overs on a wicket which seemed to be easing out.
Stuart Binny (38) and Naman Ojha (11) were the two unbeaten batsmen at the crease when the lunch break was taken. India started their day at 21/3 in this second innings, with a lead of 132 runs, and Virat Kohli (21) and Rohit were the unbeaten batsmen at the crease.
While the almost new ball was still doing something, Dhammika Prasad (2-44) and Nuwan Pradeep (3-33) were unable to get purchase similar to the past three morning sessions. At best, they beat the batsmen a couple times, and had another couple of LBW shouts. On a couple of more occasions, edges flew to vacant slip regions, but that one certain chance didn’t come in the first hour’s play. Kohli and Rohit were watchful and slowly started playing shots as the 50-mark came up for India in the 19th over. They also brought up their 50-partnership for the 4th wicket off 90 balls. Just before drinks in this extended morning session though, Kohli played at a Pradeep outswinger again, one which he could have left alone, as Upul Tharanga caught the ball at first slip after a minor juggle. Binny then came out to bat and after a nervy start, he threw his bat around and attacked the bowling, looking more at ease. He survived a stumping in the 30th over, when keeper Kusal Perera messed up a chance off Rangana Herath (0-35). It allowed the Binny-Rohit combination to put up a 50-partnership off just 60 balls as the lead swelled past the 200-mark. Rohit then reached his half-century off 71 balls, and was looking good for more. But as has happened so often, with just about 15 minutes to the lunch break, he pulled the very next delivery and holed out at fine leg, throwing away all the hard work done in the morning session.
Ojha then came to the crease, and avoided any further loss for India going into lunch. Angelo Mathews (0-11) and Tharindu Kaushal (0-8) were the other bowlers deployed in this session.