NEW DELHI, Dec 4: The Indian bowling attack was rewarded for its perseverance on a lifeless track as the hosts reduced Sri Lanka to 356 for nine after defiant hundreds from Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal in the final Test here today.
Ravichandran Ashwin (3/90 in 35 overs), who has been Virat Kohli�s �Go To Man� in home conditions, got quick breakthroughs in the final session as the tourists ended the third day�s play of the third Test 180 runs behind. Ashwin�s victims included Mathews (111), Roshen Silva (0) and Niroshan Dickwella (0), as India wrested back the advantage from the islanders, who frustrated the bowlers in the first two sessions.
The other highlight for India was Wriddhiman Saha asserting himself as the best wicketkeeper in world cricket with stunning catches off Ishant Sharma (2/93 in 27 overs) and Mohammed Shami�s (2/74 in 23 overs) bowling. Ravindra Jadeja (2/85 in 44 overs) bowled his customary tight lines, not giving batsmen much room to play their strokes. Having overpowered Sri Lanka throughout the year, this effort will give Indian bowlers more satisfaction considering the game was being played on a flat track.
Sri Lanka on their part, would be happy to have saved follow-on, which will ensure that they don�t need to bat long enough in the second innings in order to save the Test match.
In the previous five Test matches which lasted 16 and half days out of 25, this was the first time that the Lankans put up some resistance courtesy their two senior pros.
The Indians will have something to worry about as this innings has been one of their worst fielding efforts with as many as five catches being dropped.
Under fire for his below-par show in the preceding games, Mathews dug deep into his reservoir of experience to score his eighth Test hundred and added 181 runs in 79.2 overs with the in-form skipper Chandimal, who hit his 10th ton.
Chandimal batted the whole day, scoring 147 off 341 balls with 18 boundaries and a six.
Sri Lanka�s senior-most batsman put his hand up when it mattered and was at the crease for six hours and 20 minutes while facing 268 balls. Mathews hit 14 boundaries and two sixes before Ashwin got one to drift away and as the former captain shaped up to play for an off-break, the resultant tickle was accepted by Saha. � PTI
India 1st innings: 536/7 decl
Sri Lanka 1st Innings:
Karunaratne c Saha b Shami 0
Perera lbw b Ravindra Jadeja 42
Dhananjaya de Silva lbw b Ishant 1
Mathews c Saha b Ashwin 111
Dinesh Chandimal not out 147
Samarawickrama c Saha b Ishant 33
Roshen Silva c Dhawan b Ashwin 0
Niroshan Dickwella b Ashwin 0
Suranga Lakmal c Saha b Shami 5
Gamage lbw b Ravindra Jadeja 1
Lakshan Sandakan not out 0
Extras: (B-4, LB-5, NB-2, PEN-5) 16
Total: (For 9 wkts) 356
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-14, 3-75, 4-256, 5-317, 6-318, 7 -322, 8-331, 9-343.
Bowling: Mohammed Shami 24-6-74-2, Ishant Sharma 27-6-93 -2, Ravindra Jadeja 44-13-85-2, Ravichandran Ashwin 35-8-90-3.