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Kanpur Test heads towards a fourth day finish!

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Sri Lanka are closing in to a certain innings defeat on Day 4 of the second Test at Kanpur having got off to a dismal start in their second innings. The visitors who resumed the final session at 219 for 8 in their first innings were wrapped up for 229 to concede a massive lead of 413 and the follow on was enforced by India. Sreesanth provided the opening in the second innings for India by removing Dilshan quickly and the homeside went onto take three more wickets before close including that of Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene!

At the start of the final session, debutant Pragyan Ojha got rid of the defensive Muralitharan with an arm ball that trapped him infront of the stumps. Harbhajan Singh took the last wicket that of Chanaka Welegedara with an off break that pitched in line and straightened to get an lbw. Pragyan Ojha had a good beginning in his career as he finished with 2 for 37 in 23 overs while bowling 12 maidens. Having bowled out Sri Lanka in 84 overs, MS Dhoni reckoned that his bowlers had enough energy to enforce a follow on.

Sri Lanka had 28 overs to negotiate in their second innings and in the 4th over itself were put on the backfoot when Sreesanth had Dilshan nicking him behind. Dilshan showed poor footwork and didn’t get his backleg across to solidly defend an away going seamer.

In the 11th over, Dhoni took a good decision of bringing on Sehwag to partner Harbhajan because of the presence of two left handers. Sehwag with his flatter trajectory struck gold in his first over itself when Tharanga Paranavitana went back to a full ball to get lbw. The ball had drifted in with the arm to cramp up Paranavitana in a cut shot.

India had a bonus wicket in the 19th over when Kumar Sangakkara worked Ojha straight to Yuvraj at mid wicket and called Mahela for a non-existent run. Yuvraj was alert enough to cleanly pick the ball and fire an accurate throw to MS Dhoni to find Mahela short of his crease at the batting end. Mahela Jayawardene had a life before getting run out when his edge off a late cut was put down by Rahul Dravid at slip. Ironically it was the second time in the day’s play that Mahela played a similar shot and got dropped by Dravid at slip. This time the bowler was Harbhajan Singh while it was Ojha in the first innings.

Kumar Sangakkara was disgusted with himself for running out Mahela Jayawardene and soon got back to the pavilion playing yet another poor shot. Sangakkara neither came forward nor went fully back and tried to play a cut off Harbhajan, the result was a drag on to the stumps! The Lankan Skipper was dismissed playing onto the stumps in the morning session off Sreesanth.

The third day’s play ended abruptly due to bad light resulting in the loss of five overs of play. The Lankans finished the day at 57 for 4 with Thilan Samaraweera and Angelo Mathews at the crease. The writing is on the wall as far as this Test Match is concerned. Sri Lanka are in a position to only delay the inevitable Indian win and for that would require Samaraweera to come good. It was a sensational day for India as they captured as many as 13 wickets! Sreesanth was the hero taking six of them all because of his upright seam bowling.