Starting the day at 74 for 5, India were still looking very much to reduce Sri Lanka's advantage on the third day of the first Test in Kolkata on Saturday (November 18). Their main hope was Cheteshwar Pujara, batting on 47, and India's No.3 got to a well-deserved half-century early in the day but his joy was short-lived.
Lahiru Gamage, Sri Lanka's weakest link on view, produced a ripping incoming delivery to breach the best defence of the Indian innings to reduce India to 79 for 6. Sri Lanka were well in the fray to knock over India for less than 120. However, some sprightly batting from the lower-order enabled India to stretch their final score to 172.
Wriddhiman Saha and Ravindra Jadeja set the tone with a 48-run stand for the seventh wicket. Boundaries came for both batsmen when the bowlers erred in length while Jadeja was willing to take on the spin of Dilruwan Perera as well. But just as the partnership began to look a trifle ominous, Sri Lanka struck back through Perera's double strike.
Jadeja was adjudged LBW through a review while Saha couldn't save himself by going to the third umpire. Perera's twin strikes got India shaking once again, with 150 looking considerably far away. But with the lower-order willing to throw their bat at everything, there was plenty of action taking place through top-edges and miscues, albeit a little frustrating for Sri Lanka.
After Bhuvneshwar Kumar became Suranga Lakmal's fourth victim of the innings, India's last-wicket pair eventually pushed the team to a healthier score than they would have expected when Pujara was dismissed. Sri Lanka, though, still went back the happier side at Lunch on day three.
Brief Scores: India 172 (Cheteshwar Pujara 52, Wriddhiman Saha 29; Suranga Lakmal 4-26) vs Sri Lanka