Delhi Test: India set for romp against Sri Lanka on final day
Sri Lanka on verge of losing Test series 0-2 as early blows from Shami, Jadeja hurt visitors
Ravindra Jadeja struck twice in what turned out to be the last over of the fourth day at the Kotla to leave India seven wickets away from clinching their ninth straight series win. Set 410 to win, Sri Lanka were reduced to 31 for three at stumps and will require an encore from first innings centurions Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal, and a significant contribution from Dhanjaya de Silva, who was unbeaten on 13 to entertain the possibility of salvaging a draw.
India's Mohammed Shami celebrates the wicket of Sri Lankan Sadeera Samarawickrama during the fourth day's play of the Kotla Test yesterday. Pic/PTI
Sri Lanka will have their task cut out on a Day Five pitch, not only because India have the top two ranked spinners at their command but also because they have two fast bowlers who have thus far bowled with a hostility that has tested both the edge of the bat, and all the safety equipment with equal measure. Opener Sadeer Samarawickrama was bounced out by one such brute of a delivery from Mohammed Shami that climbed and followed him cunningly, before taking his glove on the way to the 'keeper.
The ball that got his partner Dimuth Karunaratne was no less menacing, albeit sent down by a spinner, as it highlighted the inconsistencies of the pitch, that make its conjurer Ravindra Jadeja doubly dangerous. He was undone playing defensively for the turn, as the ball from Jadeja went straight on with the arm, inducing an outside edge to the keeper again. Nightwatchman Suranga Lakmal was also cleaned up by Jadeja for a three ball duck. Earlier, Sri Lanka added 17 runs - all from the bat of Chandimal - to their overnight score to be bowled out for 373. Chandimal registered his highest Test score of 164.
Sri Lanka coach Nic Pothas praised his team's perseverance against a formidable India yesterday despite severe pollution. Fast bowlers Suranga Lakmal and Mohd Shami threw up as pollution levels soared at the Kotla and Sri Lankan fielders again turned to face masks to combat the foul air. Pothas told reporters his men played "brilliantly" despite being ill from the smog. "I thought the guys did superbly well, great attitude," Pothas said.