Colombo - Fired-up India sighted their first series win in Sri Lanka for 22
years when the home team's top order collapsed during the decisive final Test
in Colombo on Monday.
Sri Lanka, set a tough victory target of 386, lost three wickets for 21 runs
before moving to 67 without further loss by stumps on a tense fourth day at the
Sinhalese Sports Club.
Tempers flared in the final session as Ishant Sharma and the Sri Lankan
fielders had a heated exchange after Dhammika Prasad bowled three consecutive
bouncers to the Indian tailender.
Dinesh Chandimal nudged Sharma with his shoulder, forcing umpires Nigel
Llong and Rod Tucker to step in to calm down the players.
As Sharma hurried off the field after the Indian innings ended, Prasad
sprinted behind him and television pictures showed the two players speaking to
each other outside the dressing rooms.
Sharma, who was fined 65 percent of his match fee for misconduct during the
second Test, vented his anger with the ball when Sri Lanka's second innings
The lanky seamer had Upul Tharanga edging his sixth delivery to
wicket-keeper Naman Ojha, and Chandimal was caught by skipper Virat Kohli at
second slip after the ball bounced out of third slip Lokesh Rahul's hands.
In between, Umesh Yadav forced Dimuth Karunaratne to edge a catch to Ojha.
But opener Kaushal Silva and skipper Angelo Mathews stemmed the rot with an
unbroken 46-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Sri Lanka will begin the final day's play on Tuesday needing 319 more to win
in a minimum of 98 overs, with Silva unbeaten on 24 and Mathews on 22.
India have not won a Test series in Sri Lanka since 1993 when Mohammad
Azharuddin's men clinched a 1-0 victory
Resolute batting by India's lower order had lifted their second innings to
274, with the last six wickets contributing 210 runs after the top four had
fallen for 64.
The revival began with a 54-run partnership for the fifth wicket between
Rohit Sharma (50) and Stuart Binny (49) before Ravichandran Ashwin smashed 58
to boost the total.
Rohit Sharma gifted his wicket soon after he reached his fourth Test
half-century before lunch, hooking Prasad to Nuwan Pradeep on the fine-leg
Binny, who was out first ball in the first innings, missed his own
half-century when he edged Prasad to first slip, where Tharanga pounced on a
Ojha scored 35, but Amit Mishra (39) and Ashwin increased the lead with a
55-run stand for the eighth wicket.
Prasad and Pradeep finished with four wickets each on a seaming pitch where
15 wickets had fallen on the third day.
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
The dismissal broke a valuable stand of 57 for the fourth wicket between
Kohli and Rohit Sharma after India had been reduced to 7-3 on Sunday evening.
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.