India registered a record ninth straight series win after drawing the third and final Test against Sri Lanka at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi on Wednesday. Chasing an improbable 410, a defiant Sri Lanka rode on Dhananjaya de Silva's third Test century and debutant Roshen Silva's unbeaten half century to score 2995, before both the captains decided to settle for the draw. Roshen remained unbeaten on 74, while, stumper Niroshan Dickwella was on 44 when the match ended.
Dhananjaya De Silva, cashed in on the ineffectiveness of Indian spinners, holding on for a draw in the third Test even as the home team collected its ninth successive series victory in Delhi. While the win in Nagpur ensured a 1-0 series win for India, it will certainly be a moral victory for a beleaguered Sri Lankan team, which also had to endure physical discomfort due to pollution in the national capital. En route his third Test hundred, Ton-up De Silva battled severe muscle stiffness before retiring hurt on 119, but he instilled the self belief in debutant Roshen Silva (74*) and the maverick Dickwella (44*), who displayed enormous determination while playing out the final session of the match.
During the first session, Jadeja endured mixed luck with a couple of no-balls. The first one accounted for Angelo Mathews (1), with the umpires missing it altogether, while the second was a brilliant delivery to clean up Chandimal but the umpires were more cautious and promptly called him for overstepping. First-innings centurion Mathews was dismissed when he edged one off Jadeja to the slips. But the left-arm spinner was lucky as he was not called for a no-ball even as replays showed that no part of his foot was behind the popping crease. However, Jadeja was not so lucky when he bowled a classic left-armer's delivery that had Chandimal beaten all ends up. This time umpire Joel Wilson checked for the no-ball and the Sri Lanka captain got a reprieve.
De Silva, who had a problem using his feet during the later stages due to a muscle pull, was easily able to play him inside the crease. During the final hour of the day, a frustrated Jadeja at times was seen kicking the dust as breakthroughs were hard to come by. This is the first time in six Tests this year that the islanders managed to stretch Virat Kohli's men to the last session of a match, deservingly earning a favourable result after all the mauling in the past few months. De Silva's innings was the highlight of the first two sessions as he was hardly troubled by the Indian bowlers en route his third Test hundred. Towards the end, he started hobbling due to the cramps, having played 219 balls. His innings was studded with 15 boundaries and a six off Ashwin.
The Roshen Silva - Niroshan Dickwella pair added invaluable 94 runs for the unbroken sixth-wicket stand as India did not get a single wicket in the final session. Wriddhiman Saha bungled an easy stumping chance of Dickwella off Ravindra Jadeja 381 in 38 overs in the final session and that, effectively, was the end of India's hopes to win the Test match. The Test match once again proved that Indian spinners especially Ravichandran Ashwin 1126 in 35 overs, is not same bowler when there isn't much help in the wicket. The Kotla track didn't show any wear and tear throughout the five days, rendering Ashwin ineffective in the second innings.