Sri Lanka 19/1 after following-on, trail India by 333 runs

Yes, they have done it in the past but it will be interesting to see if they can do it again.

As skipper Virat Kohli made a decision to enforce the follow-on, Lankan opener Upul Tharanga lost his wicket cheaply.

"Left-arm bowler [Malinda Pushpakumara] is also good and he took wickets today; he has been bowling consistently on the right spot for them".

Kohli has found that big scores eluded him on tour, saved the inconsequential second innings at Galle. "But I haven't yet really gone in (to a Test either as captain or batsman) without looking at the wicket at least 8-10 hours before the game before this".

However, Sri Lanka fought back well in the second and third sessions to reduce the Indian side to six wickets at the end of the day's play.

The hosts did not use Malinda Pushpakumara's left-arm orthodox before lunch, but tried Lakshan Sandakan's left-arm wristspin for a couple of overs.

Pandya, who smashed a maiden test century earlier, returned with the ball to trap Angelo Mathews lbw without scoring leaving Sri Lanka on 38 for four. That had been the ploy all along for Pandya, but it appeared to be devoid of sound cricketing logic to have two long-ons, one deep midwicket, one deep square leg and one behind square to protect against the sweep shot.

In the first two Tests, Pandya had largely been used in a supporting role to relieve the burden on India's four main bowlers. This may have had something to do with the innings he had just played.

Electing to bat after winning the toss, India were off to a flying start, rushing to their 50 in just 55 balls as Dhawan completed his fourth half century of the series in just 45 balls.

For India, pacer Mohammad Shami took two wickets for 15 runs while Hardik Pandya chipped in with one wicket. He was out third ball after resumption, slicing a Lakshan Sandakan googly to the fielder on the cover boundary.

India has already won the test series 2-0. Umesh Yadav dismissed Tharanga to put hosts further back.

After an early fall of wickets, Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav had stabilised the innings and helped India reach a challenging score.

Dhawan though stayed and scored his second hundred of this series off 107 balls. When Sri Lanka come out to bat, we are going to make sure that we squeeze them hard and not give away easy runs. It was flighted and Pandya knew it straightaway. It brought the No. 11 to the crease, and provoked a change of approach from Pandya. Rahul is also a similar batsman like me, he tries to take on the bowler. The left armers, bowling with tandem, then began to chip away at the Indian batting. Both of them come into the all rounder class. This was the head-on confrontation that the morning had been building towards all along. Not giving the batsmen too many easy pickings. Though Dilruwan Perera struggled and was expensive by Test standards, Pushpakumara and Sandakan received plenty of assistance from the dry, grassless pitch. At stumps, India were positioned 329 for six.

Vanessa Coleman

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