Colombo - Sri Lanka gave India a scare before bad weather washed out a major
part of the opening day's play in the series-deciding third and final
Test in Colombo on Friday.
Just 15 overs were bowled in the 75
minutes of play possible before lunch, during which Sri Lanka grabbed
two early wickets after sending India in to bat on a greenish pitch
under overcast conditions.
The tourists slipped to 14-2 in the
fourth over before moving to 50 without further loss, but heavy rain
that lashed the Sinhalese sports club prevented any further play in the
Cheteshwar Pujara was unbeaten on 19 and skipper Virat Kohli
was on 14, the pair having put on 36 for the third wicket to stymie the
Sri Lankan attack.
The series is locked at 1-1 after Sri Lanka won
the opening Test in Galle by 63 runs and India drew level with a
278-run win in the second match at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo on
The hard-working groundstaff, who had covered the entire
field, tried to dry the surface but their efforts were hampered by
Bad weather has been forecast for the duration of
the match, but India's batting coach Sanjay Bangar predicted a
"hard-fought" Test on what he said was a sporting wicket.
hardly had one full session, so it is premature to even think of a
result at this stage," Bangar said. "This is going to be a really
hard-fought and tight Test.
"We definitely want to bat well in the first session tomorrow and take it from there.
a sporting wicket with a good grass cover on it. It is also hard
underneath and I expect the ball to seam around throughout the game. It
will make for challenging cricket."
India lost second Test
century-maker Lokesh Rahul off the second ball of the game, bowled by
Dhammika Prasad with a sharp in-swinger that the batsman wanted to
Ajinkya Rahane, who also scored a hundred in the previous
match, made eight when he was given out leg-before off seamer Nuwan
Pradeep in the fourth over.
India would have been in further
trouble at 33-2 had debutant wicket-keeper Kusal Perera not dropped
Kohli down the leg-side off Pradeep. The missed catch also cost the
hosts five penalty runs as the ball hit a helmet lying behind the
The tourists were forced to make two changes for the
series decider, replacing the injured duo of opener Murali Vijay and
wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha with Pujara and 32-year-old debutant Naman
Sri Lanka replaced the retired Kumar Sangakkara with another left-hander, Upul Tharanga, and also included Pradeep and Perera.
The hosts left out Jehan Mubarak and Dushmantha Chameera from the side which lost the second Test.