Chandimal ton gives Sri Lanka a chance

Dinesh Chandimal smashed an unbeaten 162 off 169 balls to lead a brilliant revival by Sri Lanka on the third day of the first Test against India at Galle on Friday.

The hosts, who trailed India by 192 runs in the first innings, were reduced to 5-95 in their second knock before Chandimal launched an audacious counter-attack to steer his team away from imminent disaster.

Sri Lanka went on to make 367, setting India a tricky target of 176 runs to take the lead in the three-match series.

India ended the day at a shaky 23 for one after Lokesh Rahul was trapped leg-before by Rangana Herath for five. First-innings century-maker Shikhar Dhawan was unbeaten on 13 and nightwatchman Ishant Sharma was on five.

The 25-year-old Chandimal hit four sixes – one of them a spectacular reverse sweep off Harbhajan Singh over the mid-wicket boundary – and 19 boundaries in his fourth Test century.

Chandimal put on 125 for the sixth wicket with Lahiru Thirimanne (44) and 82 for the seventh with Jehan Mubarak (49) to frustrate India’s bid to force an early win.

Chandimal and Thirimanne, who joined hands before lunch with their team still 98 runs away from wiping the deficit, batted through a major part of the post-lunch session.

As the pair settled down, the Indians were left to rue the refusal by their powerful cricket board to use the Decision Review System for their bilateral matches.

Both batsmen were fortunate to get into double figures after surviving three appeals for catches close to the wicket – two against Chandimal and one against Thirimanne – in a 10-minute period before lunch.

Replays showed all three catches were clean, but the absence of DRS meant India could not ask for reviews from the television umpire.

Mubarak chipped in with a valuable innings after Thirimanne was snapped up by Ajinkya Rahane at slip off Ravichandran Ashwin to give India its lone success in the afternoon session.

Rahane set a new world record for most catches by a fielder other than a wicket-keeper when he claimed eight catches in the Test – three in the first innings and five in the second.

Ashwin finished with 10 wickets in the match, having taken six in the first innings and four in the second.

Earlier, Kumar Sangakkara scored 40 in his penultimate Test and captain Angelo Mathews made 39, the pair adding 87 for the fourth wicket after Sri Lanka were reduced to 3-5.

Sangakkara, who looked in good form during his 70-ball innings in which he hit five boundaries, was dismissed against the run of play 20 minutes before lunch.

The left-hander edged Ashwin to the slip region where Rahane dived to his left to pick up a stunning one-handed catch.

Sangakkara received a standing ovation from some 1500 home fans as he walked back after playing his final innings at the Galle International Stadium.

Mathews fell in the next over to leg-spinner Amit Mishra, gloving a catch to Lokesh Rahul at silly-point.

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