Kolkata: Brilliant fifties from Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul helped India to take a crucial lead of 49 runs at stumps on Day 4 of the first test between India and Sri Lanka here at Eden Gardens. The visitors took a 122 runs lead in the first innings as they put 294 runs on board.
Dhawan was unlucky to miss a ton as he edged a delivery from Shanaka to be caught behind by Dickwella for 94 runs. Both Dhawan and Rahul put on 166 runs for the opening wicket.
The lefthander struck eleven boundaries and two sixes in his knock from 116 balls brilliantly complemented by Lokesh Rahul (73 batting from 113 balls; 8×4) as the wicket also eased up making their batting look easy.
India was 171/1 in 39.3 when bad light stopped the penultimate day’s proceedings with Rahul unbeaten along with Cheteshwar Pujara batting on 2.
Earlier resuming the day on 165 for 4, Rangana Herath struck his third Test fifty, in a counter-attacking 67 from 105 balls as three of their batters struck half-centuries. Batting at No. 9 the Lankan spinner struck nine boundaries in his 67 runs knock.
India did not delay to take the new ball and Bhuvneshwar Kumar dismissed Herath who sliced a catch to deep backward point to end his 46-run ninth wicket stand with Suranga Lakmal in the 83rd over.
Mohammed Shami wrapped up the Sri Lankan first innings for 294, as Lakmal dragged one to his stumps in the next over. He finish with 4/100.
Both Bhuvneshwar and Shami shared 4 wickets each while Umesh Yadav took the other two wickets of the Sri Lankan innings.
This was also the third time Indian seamers took all 10 wickets in a Test innnings at home, for the first time since 1983-84.
There was a controversial incident which brought back memories of Australian captain Steve Smith’s “brain-fade” episode India-Australia second Test in Bengaluru in March.
The incident happened in the last ball of 57th over, with a Shami in-cutter finding Perera’s pads in front of the stumps. Perera started walking back towards the pavilion after Nigel Llong raised his fingers. But was seen all of a sudden opting for a review after turning towards dressing room, the whole incident was caught on TV camera, as commentators began referring to the Smith controversy in the second Test.
The decision was eventually overturned as the impact was marginally outside the line and Perera survived but strangely there was no protest from Virat Kohli and Co who fought over Smith’s decision in Bengaluru that had snowballed into a big controversy.
Indians on the other hand seemed to have overlooked the entire incident despite Perera was clearly caught in the moment looking at the dressing room. But it was unclear whether any assistance came from the dressing room.
Llong was incidentally officiated as an on-field umpire during the controversial Bengaluru Test as well.
Perera however could not make it big and got out soon after becoming Shami’s third victim.