Colombo: Opener Murali Vijay was the catalyst as India scored briskly to reach 179/3 in the second innings and extend their lead to 266 at lunch on the fourth day of the second cricket Test against Sri Lanka here today.
At the P Sara Oval, Vijay (82 runs, 4 fours, 2 sixes) and Ajinkya Rahane (82 batting) scored half-centuries as the visitors pressed on with their advantage from the day before. Rohit Sharma (2) was the other unbeaten batsman going into the break.
Starting at the overnight score of 70/1, Vijay and Rahane looked to get into their groove as soon as possible. They started slowly but the scoring pace increased soon after.
Vijay first brought up his 11th Test half-century in the 36th over, off 104 balls, and as if that was the cue for going after the bowling, he hit two sixes thereafter.
At the other end, Rahane tried the calm approach and yet kept the scoring rate up, reaching his eighth Test fifty off 118 balls in the 39th over. It also brought the 100-partnership up for the two batsmen, while India’s 100-mark had come earlier in the 38th over.
The aggressive intent of both the batsmen was clearly towards a declaration later in the day and they scored 68 runs in 13.4 overs in the first hour at about five runs per over.
In the second hour of play though, Sri Lanka fought back and applied brakes on the scoring with two wickets. Vijay was the first to go, out LBW to Tharindu Kaushal (2-59) in the 46th over.
Skipper Virat Kohli (10) came out to bat and he wasn’t given any free boundaries to get off the mark quickly. In fact he laboured his way through the next seven overs, and Kaushal bowling round the wicket struck shortly before lunch.
Kohli was out LBW in the 53rd over as Rohit came out to bat with a few minutes left for the break. He did well enough to bat out the remaining session without any further losses, still keeping India on track for a 350-plus lead target.
Rangana Herath (0-69) and Dhammika Prasad (1-25) were the other main bowlers this morning, but they couldn’t get any more breakthroughs for their team. Angelo Mathews (0-1) and Dushmantha Chameera (0-25) were the other bowlers tried out earlier in this innings.
On day one, KL Rahul scored 108 runs, his second Test hundred, and put up 164 runs with Virat Kohli (78) to help India score 300-plus in one day’s play.
On day two, Wriddhiman Saha (56) scored his second successive Test fifty and helped India reach 393 in the first innings. On day three, Mathews scored his sixth Test hundred but Lanka were restricted to 306 in their first innings conceding an 87-run lead.
Sri Lanka lead the three-match series 1-0 after a 63-run win in the first Test at Galle.