Kumar Sangakkara has worked his way into sublime form with an unbeaten 21st test century and his team is now looking good to atleast avoid an innings defeat. India could get just the one wicket in the entire last session and the runs came thick and fast as Sangakkara cut loose. The Lankans have cut down the second innings deficit to just 59 with four wickets in hand including that of Sangakkara. Sri Lanka have finished the day at 274 for 6 in 93 overs.
The hosts after a splendid afternoon session having reduced the Lankans to 144 for 5 were looking to wrap up the match by stumps today. However, they were defied by a counter attacking partnership between Sangakkara and Prasanna Jayawardene which kept them engaged for more than an hour.
Eventually in the 76th over came the breakthrough when a well set Prasanna Jayawardene (32 from 42 balls with 3 fours and a six) got a bit lazy in moving his frontfoot forward to get hit by an arm ball from Pragyan Ojha in line of the middle stump. The left arm spinner had comeback into a new spell and struck immediately with his third ball. The sixth wicket partnership between Sangakkara and Prasanna was 64 runs and had lasted for nearly 15 overs.
Pragyan Ojha was very close in getting his third wicket and India’s seventh wicket soon when he had Kulasekara pinned back and struck by an arm ball infront of middle and leg. But Umpire Nigel Llong gave the benefit to the tail ender which proved to be the turning point in the session as Sri Lanka did not lose any more wickets after that. India had even taken the second new ball using the two pacers. That turned out to be a short term disaster as Sangakkara punished both Sreesanth and Zaheer Khan for plenty of runs.
The pair of Sangakkara (133 from 258 balls with 19 fours and a six) and Kulasekara (9 from 45 balls) remained unseparated at stumps. Their partnership has put on 66 runs in a little less than 18 overs. Sri Lanka scored a total of 130 runs in 32.1 overs in the last session.
The match is very much in India’s control and they stand a good chance of wrapping it up by lunch tomorrow. The pitch could have some moisture to assist both the spinners and the two pacers. Dhoni is most likely to operate with Harbhajan and Sreesanth to begin with.