On a crucial third day, India pursued more wickets with their discipline while Sri Lanka looked to persevere and whittle the lead.
Match-Report (Day 3): Sri Lanka v India, P Sara Oval, August 21, 2015
Ishant Sharma was on the money immediately, troubling Thirimanne with movement and bounce off length. Mathews responded with some cracking shots off his own. Amit Mishra got some revs and Ashwin duly got Thirimanne to play edgily. However, with Mathews driving the intent, both batsmen were far more willing to rotate the strike and not allow any bowler to settle into a rhythm. The result was a strong stand which yielded no opening and took Sri Lanka past 200. Soon, both men got to their respective half-centuries and thwarted India with their century stand.
Post lunch, Angelo Mathews came out with punishment on his mind. With the partnership and confidence on swell, he banished Ishant Sharma inexplicable 'round the wicket' strategy with a hattrick of fours, all wristed away to on-side fence. It prompted the bowler to switch, just as well, for he soon delivered the breakthrough with the wicket of Thirimanne before the showers halted play. While Yadav continued to be inconsistent - often straying on to the pads, Ishant Sharma persisted with nip-backers in the channel. It was his accurate bouncers which shook Chandimal up (clanging his helmet first-ball) and eventually a fuller one had him edging behind.
Angelo Mathews by now was farming strike. Anything on middle and leg were dispatched with almost muscle-memory of wristy flicks, spin was smothered or swept with conviction. After a few nervy moments in his 90s, he brought up his sixth test ton, a rather valuable one, with a reverse-sweep. However the moment of the day arrived an over later when Stuart Binny, finally had his name in the Test Wickets tally. Having seen Dhoni not go for an edge in his Lord's debut, and missed his chance yesterday with a no-ball, he was able to laugh and inquire about an overstep in a rare moment of self-deprecating candor.
Mishra picked up his 50th test wicket to get rid of Dhammika Prasad soon after, before bamboozling Mubarak with a mix of flight and drift to to beat his forward defense. Ashwin took out Herath and India had a rare moment of polishing off the tail quickly enough.
Prasad wasn't done with his work though, and began with his familiar mix of bustling fast-medium allied with incoming movement. K L Rahul, fresh from his first-innings century failed to cover the movement and was bowled early in the piece. However Rahane and Vijay buckled down, negating some threatening-but-not-unplayable bowling on a decent pitch to eke out a patient 67 run stand. India would need to stretch their lead to at least another 150 runs to have any semblance of control over Sri Lanka who'd bat last.
Sri Lanka 306(Mathews 102,Mishra 4/43) vs India 393
Player(s) of the Day: Angelo Mathews (SL), Amit Mishra (IND)
Disappointment(s) of the Day: Jehan Mubarak (SL), K L Rahul (IND)