Sri Lanka on verge of stunning Test win

Sri Lanka’s spinners shared all seven wickets to leave India facing a dramatic defeat on the fourth day of the first Test at the Galle International Stadium on Saturday.

The tourists, who were set a victory target of 176 runs, slumped to 7-78 in their second innings by lunch, still needing 98 runs more with just three wickets in hand.

Veteran 37-year-old left-arm spinner Rangana Herath picked up four of the six wickets that fell in the morning session, and off-spinner Tharindu Kaushal took two as India folded against the turning ball.

Ajinkya Rahane, the last recognised batsman, was at the crease on 18. Ravichandran Ashwin was on three.

Sri Lanka have defended a target of less than 200 just once before when Pakistan, set 168 to win at Galle in 2009, were shot out for 117 with Herath claiming four wickets.

Sri Lanka bounced back in the ongoing match after being reduced to 5-95 in their second innings before lunch on the third day, still 98 runs away from avoiding an innings defeat.

Dinesh Chandimal smashed a brilliant 162 off 169 balls, sharing valuable partnerships with Lahiru Thirimanne (44) and Jehan Mubarak (49) to lift the hosts to 367.

India made a slow start, adding seven runs in six overs to their overnight score of 1-23, five of them coming off the blade of nightwatchman Ishant Sharma.

Herath, who was brought on to bowl the seventh over, struck with his first delivery by trapping Ishant leg-before for 10.

Herath, who had dismissed Lokesh Rahul on Friday evening, claimed his third wicket soon after when he bowled Rohit Sharma for four to reduce India to 3-34.

Eleven runs later Kaushal removed Indian captain and star batsman Virat Kohli for three as Kaushal Silva took a low, sharp catch at forward short-leg off a bat-pad edge.

First-innings century-maker Shikhar Dhawan plodded for 83 deliveries to make 28 when he fell to a superb return catch by Kaushal, who dived to his left on the follow-through to pluck the ball.

Herath then had Wriddhiman Saha stumped by Chandimal for two and forced Harbhajan Singh to edge a catch to Silva as India slipped to 6-67 in the 33rd over.

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