Colombo: India gained a handy 111-run first innings lead but Sri Lanka hit back with three early strikes to roar back into the game on a topsy turvy Day 3 of the third and final cricket Test here today.
On a dramatic day which saw fortune fluctuating from one team to the other, India had the game firmly in control by taking a decent lead which could have been much bigger but for some audacious counter attack by debutant Kusal Perera (55) and Rangana Herath (49). India were then left gasping at a precarious 21 for three in the second innings to allow the islanders to neutralise the advantage.
Captain Virat Kohli (1) and Rohit Sharma (14) were at the crease when play was called off for the day because of rain. It turned out to be a highly eventful day which saw as many as 15 wickets fall at the Sinhalese Sports Club.
Though India had an overall lead of 132 with seven wickets in hand, the series decider was interestingly poised with both the teams in a position to wrap up the series with two full days still left.
Resuming at their overnight score of 292 for eight, India were bowled out for 312 with Cheteshwar Pujara (145 not out) becoming the fourth Indian batsman to carry his bat through. Sunil Gavaskar, Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid are the other three batsman, who carried their bat through in an innings.
Paceman Dhamika Prasad was the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers with 4/100 while left-arm spinner Rangana Herath took 3 for 84.
Sri Lankan first innings were in dire straits as they were tottering at 47 for six at one stage before Perera and Herath launched a gutsy counter attack to put on a 79-run seventh wicket partnership much to the frustration of the Indians.
The hosts were eventually bundled out for 201 shortly after the tea break but the partnership managed to take them to a decent total, which looked highly improbable at one stage.
Lanky pacer Ishant Sharma was the chief wrecker for India with figures of 5 for 54, his seventh five wicket haul in Test cricket. It was also the best performance by an Indian seamer on Sri Lankan soil.