New Delhi: Former captain Angelo Mathews dug deep into his reservoir of experience as Sri Lankan showed some stomach for fight, reaching 192 for three at lunch against India on the third day of the final cricket Test here. Starting the day at 131 for three, the Sri Lankan batsmen were cautious in their approach during the first session on a benign Feroz Shah Kotla track that offered little help to the Indian bowlers.
Mathews was batting on 90 in the company of skipper Chandimal, who remained undefeated on 52. The duo added 117 runs for an unbroken fourth-wicket and, as Sri Lanka trailed by 344 runs in their first innings. Such has been the Indian dominance that this was the visiting side’s first-century partnership of the series. It also helped that two of Sri Lanka’s most experienced batsmen in Mathews and Chandimal shouldered the responsibility under pressure. Mathews has so far faced 194 balls, hitting 11 boundaries and two sixes.
Chandimal has so far consumed 165 balls, hitting seven fours in the process. The Indian bowlers could not be faulted despite little assistance from the track. Even then Ishant Sharma (1/61 from 17 overs) got some of the deliveries to rear up awkwardly, but the Lankan duo did not do anything impetuous, leaving most of them alone. Ishant, in particular, bowled a testing spell to Mathews with some of the balls coming into him after hitting the seam.
However, his short deliveries most of the times could be left alone as they were not pitched in the right areas. After the first hour, Kohli brought back Mohammed Shami(1/49 in 17 overs) to make good use of the old ball. Chandimalhit a gorgeous cover drive and Shami responded with a well-disguised bouncer. He followed it up with one into his body that Chandimal tried to tuck away. The ball was in the air but fell agonisingly short ofAjinkya Rahane at leg gully. The skipper was on 43 then.