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Hosts feel the heat as India evens out things

Related Links : India’s Tour of Sri Lanka 2010 : India Player Pages : Sri Lanka Player Pages : Scorecard of Sri Lanka Vs India, 3rd Test at P Sara Oval, Colombo

Suresh Raina ColomboVirender Sehwag dismissed the Sri Lankan openers with his sharp turning off breaks to put India on top by the end of Day Three at the P Sara Oval. The hosts are tottering along with an overall lead of just 34 runs while losing the in-form Paranavitana and Dilshan in a 16-over period before Stumps. This was after a spirited show from the Indian bottom half that lifted the score from a precarious 199 for 4 to 436!

There were four batting heroes and two crucial partnerships that steered India on Day 3 from the potential trouble of losing the Test Match! When the overnight pair of Tendulkar (41, caught behind chasing a wide delivery from Malinga) and Sehwag (109 from 105 balls with 19 fours, was caught at mid off trying to loft Randiv against the turn) fell quickly, the match tilted heavily in favour of Sri Lanka. Sehwag had scored his 21st test century and it was just an incredible knock on a square turning wicket! India was in a bad shape of conceding a heavy first innings lead. But the fifth wicket pair of VVS Laxman and Suresh Raina produced a gem of a partnership to take India past 300.

Both Laxman and Raina notched up precious half centuries but again like Tendulkar and Sehwag fell in quick succession to leave India still in the woods. Laxman made 56 (from 97 balls with 7 fours) and Suresh Raina (62 from 111 balls with 10 fours). The two well set batsmen were dismissed by Ajantha Mendis at a time when Sri Lanka desperately was searching for the breakthrough. Laxman threw his wicket away trying to play a cute late cut while Raina was unlucky as a Mendis delivery stopped onto the bat to force him to spoon a catch at mid wicket.

MS Dhoni (15) failed to deliver as he got forced to glove a pull off Lasith Malinga to leave India in tatters at 350 for 7. Just when Sri Lanka thought they had India on the mat, came another gutsy partnership, this time from the duo of Abhimanyu Mithun (46 from 77 balls with 5 fours) and Amit Mishra (40 from 66 balls with 4 fours). Despite taking on nasty blows on the knuckles, the two lower order batsmen hung in there to play percentage shots to eat up the deficit gradually. Both were unlucky to miss out on their fifties though but their partnership for the 8th wicket put on as many 64 runs while lasting 17.4 overs . Even Ishant Sharma and Ojha fought it out before an Umpiring error ended the show. India got bowled out for 436 in 106.1 overs to take a tiny lead of 11 runs. Suraj Randiv finished the innings taking 4 for 80 in 25.1 overs.

At Stumps, Sri Lanka’s Skipper Kumar Sangakkara (12*) is in the company of night watchman Suraj Randiv who is yet to open his account. Opening batsman Murali Vijay played his part as well on the third day by pulling out a sensation one handed diving catch at short leg to help Virender Sehwag to dismiss the dangerous Tillakaratne Dilshan.

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