Tharindu-Kaushal © AFP
Tharindu Kaushal will be crucial on Day Four © AFP

Rangana Herath snapped up KL Rahul LBW for just 5, struck plumb in front of the wicket to leave India 23 for 1 chasing 176 against Sri Lanka in the first Test at Galle. Sri Lanka gave Dhammika Prasad two overs, with Herath and Tharindu Kaushal continuing afterward. Shikhar Dhawan, who did not take field on Day Three after hurting his hand, came out to open batting and looked slightly shaky to start with. Rahul batted with intent but missed a conventional left-arm spinner to be trapped firmly in front. Ishant Sharma came in at No. 3 as night-watchman and managed to successfully negotiate the remaining overs.  Live Cricket Scorecard: India vs Sri Lanka 2015, 1st Test at Galle, Day 3

Earlier, India managed to bowl out Sri Lanka for 367, but Dinesh Chandimal’s tremendous 162 not out ensured that India have to score 176 to win the first Test at Galle. Ravichandran Ashwin finished with 10 wickets in the match and Ajinkya Rahane broke the world record for most catches in a Test, but the Sri Lankan lower and middle order held firm against the Indian spinners. Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne counterattacked after lunch to help Sri Lanka take the lead. After coming together at 95 for 5 after Sri Lanka had just lost the wickets of Kumar Sangkkara and Angelo Mathews, Chandimal and Thirimanne put on 125 for the sixth wicket before Thirimanne was out edging to Ajinkya Rahane at slip. New man Jehan Mubarak scored a vital 49 before edging Harbhajan Singh to Rahane at slip. Live Cricket Blog: India vs Sri Lanka 2015, 1st Test at Galle, Day 3

Chandimal batted brilliantly at the other end, scoring runs almost at will as the Indian bowlers who had enjoyed such immense success in the first innings failed to peg him back. Rangana Herath edged one from Amit Mishra to Rahane to help Rahane claim his eighth catch of the Test. Chandimal kept going, rallying the tail around him and scoring briskly whenever the opportunity presented itself. He was severe on anything pitched up, and once he was batting with Nos 10 and 11 he picked up his scoring rate even further. He was stranded on an unbeaten 162 as India were left with a potentially tricky chase. READ: Lack of DRS hurt Sri Lanka and overall fairness of game badly

The duo, who came together at 95 for 5, were finally separated with the score on 220, having added 125 in less than 25 overs. As has been the case so often in this match, Ravichandran Ashwin was the man who took the breakthrough for India when he got Thirimanne out edging to slip for a hard-fought 44. Jehan Mubarak came out and scored a run-a-ball 23, while Chandimal remained unbeaten on 98 at tea with Sri Lanka 263 for 6. READ: VVS Laxman’s tips for budding slip fielders

Earlier, Varun Aaron took a wicket off the first ball of the day, but Kumar Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews kept India at bay for 87 runs to reignite some hope of a fightback, but Ravichandran Ashwin and Amit Mishra — who had dismissed both openers for ducks earlier on Day Two — removed both men within a space of seven balls to reduce Sri Lanka to 108 for 5 at lunch. Aaron struck early, getting nightwatchman Dhammika Prasad out caught at gully off a short ball to leave Sri Lanka gasping at 5 for 3. The hosts’  best batsmen rescued them, albeit briefly. Sangakkara was uncomfortable at the start of his innings, but his confidence grew as the session progressed. Mathews played a counterattacking innings and ensured that India’s bowlers did not settle into a rhythm. But Ashwin and Mishra needed just seven balls between them to derail Sri Lanka once again. READ: Tharindu Kaushal must be given a longer run for Sri Lanka’s benefit

For as long as Sangakkara and Mathews were in the middle, Sri Lanka had hope. But Ashwin set him up beautifully; having beaten Sangakkara’s outside edge off one ball, he kept things tight before tossing one up just a bit wide of off stump. Sangakkara went at it with hard hands and the resultant edge was taken well by Ajinkya Rahane at slip. Mishra then had Mathews out offering a catch to silly point as KL Rahul took a good reaction catch. Dinesh Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne survived till lunch, but only just; in the last over of the session Chandimal survived a contentious chance when the ball was caught after it appeared to go off the fielder’s boot only for the third umpire to declare him not out. READ: India’s batsmen show positive signs, but need to learn how to fire collectively

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 183 (Angelo Mathews 64, Dinesh Chandimal 59; Ravichandran Ashwin 6 for 46, Amit Mishra 2 for 21) and 367 (Dinesh Chandimal 162*; Ravichandran Ashwin 4 for 114, Amit Mishra 3 for 61) lead India 375 (Shikhar Dhawan 134, Virat Kohli 103; Tharindu Kaushal 5 for 134, Nuwan Pradeep 3 for 98) and 23 for 1 (Shikhar Dhawan 13*; Rangana Herath 1 for 13) by 152 runs.

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(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek who loves cricket more than cricketers. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)