India push lead to 345

2015-08-31 11:52
Rohit Sharma (AFP)

Colombo - Resolute batting by India's middle order steered the tourists to a strong position in the decisive third and final Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo on Monday.

India had taken their second innings from a shaky overnight 21-3 to 234-8 by tea on the fourth day, gaining an overall lead of 345 runs with two wickets in hand.

A huge target for Sri Lanka will excite India's bowlers on a seaming pitch at the Sinhalese Sports Club, where 15 wickets fell on the third day.

Rohit Sharma made 50 and Stuart Binny chipped in with 49, the pair adding 54 for the fifth wicket after the top four batsmen had fallen for 64 runs.

Sharma gifted his wicket soon after he reached his fourth Test half-century before lunch, hooking pacemen Dhammika Prasad to Nuwan Pradeep on the fine-leg fence.

Binny, who was out first ball in the first innings, missed his own half-century when he edged Prasad to first slip, where Upul Tharanga pounced on a low catch.

Naman Ojha scored 35, before Amit Mishra (39) and Ravichandran Ashwin (27) increased the lead with a 55-run stand for the eighth wicket.

Indian captain Virat Kohli earlier added 20 runs to his overnight score of one before edging seamer Pradeep to first slip, where Tharanga took the catch on the second attempt.

The dismissal broke a valuable stand of 57 for the fourth wicket between Kohli and Sharma after India had been reduced to 7-3 on Sunday evening.

Binny began by flicking Pradeep for a boundary and then cut the same bowler for another four. At the other end, Sharma grew in confidence by driving Pradeep through the covers for two successive boundaries.

Sri Lanka won the opening Test in Galle by 63 runs, but India drew level with a 278-run win in the second match at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo.

Read more on:    india  |  sri lanka  |  rohit sharma  |  cricket

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