Sri Lanka rediscover fighting spirit after follow-on

Pujara in Sri Lanka: Three Tests, three tons

The ignominy of the follow-on revived Sri Lanka's stomach for a fight on Saturday and the beleaguered hosts reached 118 for one at tea in their second knock after a meek first-innings surrender in the second Test against India. With the hosts trailing by 230 runs and two full days left to play, the odds are surely stacked up against them, but applying some common sense along with some determination can help them narrow the chasm and then start to look at the bigger picture from thereon.

Ravindra Jadeja (70 not out), Wriddhiman Saha (67), Rahul (57) and Ashwin (54) all contributed half-centuries.

Dinesh Chandimal and Kusal Mendis departed shortly after the start of the day's play before Dickwella and Angelo Mathews managed to hold the Indian bowlers at bay for a short while with a 53-run stand. He is guiding India against a Sri Lanka team who not only are woefully short of global standards, but also have been plagued by injuries and the lack of form of their top spinner Rangana Herath.

Mendis also survived a caught behind appeal off Jadeja via DRS as the ball touched the thigh pad and was never even close to the edge.

Extra cover: Sri Lanka's tour of India pushed ahead; South Africa tour in doubt? Fast bowler Mohammed Shami bowled superbly for figures of 2/13 while left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja returned 2/84. Tharanga on short-leg and wicket picked by Ashwin. By the end of the first session, India had put on 86 runs and lost two more wickets. They were more circumspect than the previous batters, but also ensured that the runs did not come to a halt. The Indian cricket team scored a mammoth total of 622 after playing for nearly two days. Jadeja-Shami put on 30 quick runs for the ninth wicket.

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While batting appeared a lot easier post lunch, Dickwella said it was the adaptability that had stood his team in good stead. Cheteshwar Pujara at number 3 was rock solid becoming only the seventh Indian player and 36th overall to score a hundred in his 50th Test. Yes, there was some assistance for the fast-bowlers early on but that was it. Nuwan Pradeep walked off the field mid-way in his over, reducing Sri Lanka's pace bowling options to nearly nothing.

Mendis was 61 not out after bringing up his fifth Test half-century, facing 68 deliveries and hitting 12 boundaries.

Rahane was out stumped by Niroshan Dickwella for spinner Malinda Pushpakumara's maiden worldwide wicket.

BOWLING (to-date): Pradeep 17.4-2-63-0; Herath 24-3-83-1; Karunaratne 3-0-10-0; Perera 18-2-68-1 (1nb); Pushpakumara 19.2-0-82-0; de Silva 8-0-31-0.

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