COLOMBO, Aug 30 (IANS) India pacer Ishant Sharma claimed an impressive five-wicket haul, but Sri Lankan bowlers struck back to leave the visitors struggling in their second innings as rain forced early stumps on Day 3 of the third cricket Test at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) here on Sunday.
Ishant returned figures of 5/54, as the hosts were bundled out for 201, in reply to India's first innings total of 312. Stuart Binny (2-24), Amit Mishra (2-25) and Umesh Yadav (1-64) also bowled superbly.
In India's second innings, Rohit Sharma (14 not out) and skipper Virat Kohli (1 not out) remained unbeaten at stumps as the visitors struggled to post a meagre 21/3. The visitors had a vital 132-run second innings lead at the end of the day's play.
With the SSC pitch offering appreciable lateral movement, Indian pacers struck early blows to reduce the hosts to 47/5 at lunch.
Following the break, Ishant continued his rampaging form as he had Lahiru Thirimanne (0) caught at first slip before forcing Dhammika Prasad to retire hurt with a blow on his left hand.
However, a 79-run partnership between Perera and Herath got the hosts back on track and although Perera departed before tea, Herath ensured that Sri Lanka did not stare at a big deficit.
Starting their second innings with a 111-run lead, the visitors were on the backfoot right away when Dhammika Prasad dislodged Cheteshwar Pujara's middle stump with an incoming delivery.
Pujara, who carried his bat through India's first innings, became the only man to follow such a feat with a duck in the same Test.
Lokesh Rahul soon followed Pujara back to the dressing room when he misread another incoming delivery from pacer Nuwan Pradeep. The opener attempted to leave the ball only to see his bails go flying all over.
Pradeep then trapped Ajinkya Rahane leg before as the Lankans clawed their way back into the match.
At the close, Pradeep had figures of 2/6 while Prasad had clinched one wicket for eight runs.
Earlier in the day, resuming the third day's play at 292/8 in the first innings, the Indians managed to add only 20 runs to their overnight score.
Opener Pujara remained unbeaten on 145 as India were bowled out for 312 in 100.1 overs in their first innings.
For the hosts, Prasad (4/100) and Herath (3/84) were the pick of the bowlers.