India's slip catching woes and other talking points as late Ashwin strikes peg Sri Lanka back

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal registered tons.

Sri Lanka fought back valiantly on the third day of the final Test against India at Delhi but a late charge by India’s bowlers set the islanders back.

Sri Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal remained unbeaten on 147 before bad light brought play to a slightly premature halt with the visitors 356-9 in reply to India’s first innings total of 536 runs.

Here, we look at the key talking points of the third day at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium.

SENIOR DUO ANGELO MATHEWS AND DINESH CHANDIMAL MAKE MARK

Amidst all the recent failures of the islanders, the need for the senior players to step up had been spoken about constantly within the team and management. With the rapid injunction of fresh faces in the past year or so, experienced players have perhaps not done enough to help smoothen the transition from the retirements of Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardane and Muttiah Muralitharan.

On Monday, Angelo Mathews and skipper Dinesh Chandimal stood up in the face of tremendous pressure to register their eighth and tenth Test tons respectively. Both had to play extremely patient innings as India’s bowlers constantly troubled them but they dug in to put together a 181-run stand to put the visitors in a position of relative safety.

Skipper Dinesh Chandimal brought up his 10th Test ton.

Skipper Dinesh Chandimal brought up his 10th Test ton.

INDIA’S SLIP CATCHING WOES LET THEM DOWN

While Mathews and Chandimal will take the plaudits for the day for their valiant centuries, they were certainly given a massive helping hand along the way in the form of some shambolic slip fielding by the hosts.

Mathews, who crossed the three-figure mark for the first time in over two years, was given three lifelines before getting to the landmark. He was dropped at second slip twice with India skipper Virat Kohli and Murali Vijay being guilty of putting down sitters. There was no improvement on day three when Rohit Sharma failed to grab a straightforward chance from Mathews in the second slip.

What was perhaps more baffling was the reluctance to use perhaps India’s most accomplished slip fielder in his favoured position as he was placed instead at gully. India’s pacers did well to make to create chances on a flat surface but they were let down by the catching in worrying signs for India before the tour of South Africa.

Skipper Virat Kohli was himself guilty of dropping a a sitter at slip.

Skipper Virat Kohli was himself guilty of dropping a a sitter at slip.

RAVICHANDRAN ASHWIN NOTORIOUSLY UNDERUTILISED

India’s leading spinner and 300-wicket man Ashwin was bafflingly underused by Kohli on both day and day three until the second session. The off-spinner was given only five overs in the first session of day three despite creating a leg-before wicket chance. Ashwin was not allowed to settle down into a rhythm as he deprived of a chance to bowl more than five overs on the trot.

That he provided the vital breakthrough just before tea after the marathon stand between Sri Lanka’s veteran makes the decision to under-bowl him initially even more surprising. Perhaps Kohli’s eyes were already on South Africa as he looked to give his pacers more of the ball but surely Ashwin could have been given a far greater role in Delhi.

It was Ashwin's late strikes which dented Sri Lanka's charge.

It was Ashwin’s late strikes which dented Sri Lanka’s charge.

DELHI PITCH SHARES LITTLE COMPARISONS WITH SOUTH AFRICA

Before the start of the series, Kohli had spoken about using the Sri Lanka series to prepare for the South African tour in the absence of enough warm-up games. The talk had been about using green tops in the three Tests to help mirror conditions in South Africa.

Sure enough the pitch at Kolkata for the first Test was a fast bowler’s delight but the subsequent pitches at Nagpur and now Delhi have been more or the less what one can usually expect from a subcontinent track.

Big scores and four tons have already come from the first three days as batsmen continue to dominate on a pitch not assisting the pacers in a way India would have liked. With the South Africa series starting almost immediately after the limited-overs series against the islander, surely there is a danger of India being massively under-cooked for the tough tour.

Batsmen have prospered on a flat deck at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium.

Batsmen have prospered on a flat deck at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium.

Most popular

Related Tags

Virat Kohli's 243 gives India the edge against Sri Lanka in Delhi

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Scored 25 fours in his innings of 243: Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli smashed a record double century to put India on top in the third Test against Sri Lanka, whose fielders wore anti-pollution masks in extraordinary scenes in a smoggy Delhi on Sunday.

Kohli cracked a career-best 243 but his sixth double century as captain was overshadowed on the second day after Sri Lanka complained about air pollution in the Indian capital, halting play three times.

The second session of the match was delayed more than 20 minutes as smog visibly worsened at Feroz Shah Kotla stadium and the umpires consulted the match referee and team doctors.

Sri Lankan fast bowlers Lahiru Gamage and Suranga Lakmal returned to the pavilion amid the drama, leaving the visitors short of fielders and prompting Kohli to declare India’s first innnings on 536-7.

Sri Lanka coach Nic Pothas defended the decision to halt the match, saying players’ safety is of “paramount importance”.

“Obviously it is well documented that Delhi has high level of pollution. They had got extremely high at one point, we had players coming in at one point and vomiting,” Pothas told reporters.

“There were oxygen cylinders in the dressing room. It is not normal for players to suffer in that way while playing the game.

“Under most circumstances we wanted to play cricket. We just wanted to have some clarity on the safety of players,” Pothas said.

Sri Lanka players

Sri Lanka were 131 for three at stumps, trailing the hosts by 405 runs.

Angelo Mathews, on 57, and skipper Dinesh Chandimal, on 25, were batting when bad light stopped play for the day.

Mathews, who returned to form with a fighting half-century, and Chandimal steadied the Sri Lankan innings with an unbeaten 56-run stand after pace spearhead Mohammed Shami struck with the very first ball to dismiss left-hander Dimuth Karunaratne.

Lanky paceman Ishant Sharma then trapped Dhananjaya de Silva lbw for one as the visitors took tea on 18-2.
Dilruwan Perera, who scored 42 after opening the batting in place of injured opener Sadeera Samarawickrama, then staged a gritty 61-run partnership with Mathews.

Both Perera and Mathews were given reprieves, on 16 and six respectively, after Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli dropped catches in the slips.

Perera was eventually trapped lbw by left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja as Sri Lanka slipped furthur.

‘VIRAT DIDN’T NEED MASK’

But the day belonged to Kohli, who recorded his second successive 200-plus score to pulverise the Sri Lankan attack after India started the day on 371-4.

He surpassed West Indies great Brian Lara to become the first international captain to register six double centuries. Lara had five.

Kohli, who started the day on 156 and batted over seven hours, combined with overnight partner Rohit Sharma, who scored 65, to put on 135 for the fifth wicket.

The skipper, who made 213 in India’s thrashing of Sri Lanka in the second Test, pulled Lakmal for a couple to reach his milestone, raising his bat to acknowledge a raucous home crowd.

The Delhi-born star was finally trapped lbw off left-arm wrist spinner Lakshan Sandakan, who claimed four wickets in the innings. 

“Virat batted close to two days, he didn’t need a mask! We are focused on what we need to do. The conditions are the same for both teams,” said India’s bowling coach Bharat Arun.

“I don’t think we were too worried about pollution. The BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) schedules these matches and our job is to get the best out of our team. Focus is more on that,” he added.

India lead the series 1-0 and need only a draw for a record-equalling ninth successive Test series triumph.
England and Australia are the other sides to have achieved the feat.

Provided by AFP Sport

Most popular

Related Sections

Shaun Marsh ton puts Australia in driving seat in Adelaide as England close on 29-1

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Remained unbeaten on 126: Shaun Marsh.

England lost an early wicket before rain forced play to be abandoned on day two of the second Ashes Test on Sunday after Australia declared their first innings on 442 for eight.

Mitchell Starc struck in the seventh over, trapping Mark Stoneman leg before wicket for 18, to leave the tourists on 29 for one when rain at the Adelaide Oval brought an early finish.

Alastair Cook was on 11 with James Vince yet to score in the first-ever Ashes day-night Test.

Stoneman wasted a review, which only confirmed the umpire’s decision, ending a dire day for the tourists.

Shaun Marsh earlier notched up his fifth Test century as Australia tightened the screws on England, making captain Joe Root pay for sending the home side in to bat.

Marsh scored a watchful and undefeated 126 off 231 balls.

Australia’s score surpassed their previous best in pink-ball Tests, 383 in the first innings of last year’s match against South Africa in Adeleide.

Steve Smith called a halt to Australia’s first innings shortly after the dinner break after Pat Cummins was dismissed for 44.

Marsh went for quick runs ahead of the declaration including a towering six while Nathan Lyon remained 10 not out.

England suffered further indignity just before the dinner break when Cook and Vince collided going for the same catch off Marsh in the gully and the chance off Chris Woakes went begging.

Marsh and Tim Paine both vindicated their contentious Test recalls as Australia took charge.

Marsh, in his eighth recall to the Australian team, backed up his 51 in Brisbane to strengthen Australia’s position.

Wicketkeeper Paine, who received a surprise Ashes recall after being out of the Australia side for seven years, cracked 57 off 102 balls.

Paine, who took a couple of painful blows on his right index finger which he shattered seven years ago, shared in an 85-run stand with Marsh before he was caught on the boundary pulling Craig Overton. 

Paine had eight pins and a metal plate inserted into the fractured finger which caused him to lose his spot in the Test side back in 2010.

England, who lost the first Test in Brisbane by 10 wickets last week, cannot afford to lose in Adelaide, where Australia have won the two day-night Tests against New Zealand and South Africa.

England had several calls go against them on day two. Marsh had an lbw decision on 29 by James Anderson overturned when a review showed the ball would have gone over the stumps.

Anderson was frustrated again, much to the delight of the home crowd, when a review denied him again after Paine on 24 had been given out lbw on the field.

Peter Handscomb only lasted three balls at the start of the day before he was trapped leg before wicket playing back on his overnight score of 36 by a fired-up Stuart Broad, who gave him an animated send-off.

Most popular

Related Sections