Rahane ton leads the way for India on Day 4
India <g data-gr-id="80">were</g> eyeing a series- levelling victory in the second cricket Test by reducing Sri Lanka to 72 for two after setting the hosts a daunting victory target of 413, riding on Ajinkya Rahane’s sparkling century.
The 27-year-old Rahane (126) notched up his fourth Test century as India declared their second innings at 325 for eight and then snapped up early wickets to leave the islanders in a shaky position at close on an engrossing fourth day.
India will now look to take the remaining eight wickets on a tricky <g data-gr-id="76">fifth day</g> track to level the three-match series 1 -1 and spoil the party for retiring legend Kumar Sangakkara in his farewell Test match.
Sangakkara, 37, did not have a fairytale ending to his final innings after the one-down batsman departed for just 18 runs. He was scalped for the fourth time in this series by Ravichandran Ashwin (2-27) as the home crowd gave an emotional farewell to the left-handed batsman.
After coming on to the ground amid a standing ovation and guard of honour by the visiting Indian team, Sangakkara was done in by an Ashwin <g data-gr-id="73">turner</g> to be caught at gully by Murali Vijay. The visiting players, including captain Virat Kohli, then shook hands with the departing Sangakkara as his family looked on from the stands.
Dimuth Karunaratne (25 not out) and skipper Angelo Mathews (23 not out) then stood their ground for an unbeaten 39-run stand to fight on.
The Lankans will look to score the remaining 341 runs for a <g data-gr-id="70">series clinching</g> victory though that will a tough task. With two wickets already down, they will try to bat out for a draw on a P Sara oval track, which is expected to deteriorate and assist the spinners.
No team has ever scored 413 in the last innings of a Test match on <g data-gr-id="79">Sri</g> Lankan soil. The highest successful run chase has been achieved by Pakistan only a few months <g data-gr-id="78">back,</g> when they scored 382 for three against the Lankans in Pallekele.
The highest fourth innings target successfully chased by the hosts has been 352 against South Africa in Colombo in 2006.
The highlight of the day was Rahane’s knock and his 140- run second wicket partnership with Murali Vijay (82), which put India in a position to take a mammoth overall lead. Rohit Sharma chipped in with a useful 34 before India declared the second innings.
Dhamikka Prasad and Tharindu Kaushal picked up four wickets apiece but failed to stop the flow of runs.
Ashwin had opened the bowling along with Umesh Yadav (0- 10) and made <g data-gr-id="86">immediate</g> impact with the new ball. In the 3rd over Kaushal <g data-gr-id="85">Silva</g> (1) played a loose shot off a full toss and hit it straight to short mid-wicket.
Sangakkara then put on 25 runs for the 2nd wicket with Karunaratne before Ashwin dismissed him.
India 1st innings: 393 Sri Lanka 1st Innings: 306 all out India 2nd innings: Vijay lbw b Kaushal 82 Rahul b Prasad 2 Rahane c Chandimal b Kaushal126 Kohli lbw b Kaushal 10 Rohit c Mubarak b Kaushal 34 Binny c Thirimanne b Prasad 17 Saha not out 13 Ashwin c Chandimal b Prasad 19 Mishra c Mubarak b Prasad 10 Umesh not out 4 Extras (LB-4, W-3, NB-1) 8 Total (8 wickets dec; 91 overs) 325 Bowling: Dhammika Prasad 15-0-43-4, Rangana Herath 29-4-96-0, Dushmantha Chameera 14-0-63-0, Angelo Mathews 2-1-1-0, Tharindu Kaushal 31-1-118-4
Sri Lanka 2nd innings (target: 413 runs) Silva c Binny b Ashwin1 Karunaratne not out 25 Sangakkara c Vijay b Ashwin 18 Mathews not out 23 Extras (LB 4, NB 1) 5 Total (2 wickets; 21 overs) 72