Rangana Herath broke the back of India's batting © AFP
Rangana Herath broke the back of India’s batting © AFP (File Photo)

Rangana Herath took his fifth wicket of the innings when he dismissed Harbhajan Singh, who was caught by the short leg fielder off a bat-pad chance, for 1. India slumped to 67 for 7 chasing 176, staring at defeat when a day earlier an innings victory for them was probable. Resuming the fourth innings at 23 for 1 on the fourth morning, India quickly lost nightwatchman Ishant Sharma, No. 3 Rohit Sharma, captain Virat Kohli, opener Shikhar Dhawan, wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, and Harbhajan, to two bowlers — off-spinner Tharindu Kaushal and Herath. Ishant, Rohit, Saha and Harbhajan were Herath’s scalps. LIVE CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Galle, 4th Day

India’s batsmen have allowed these spinners to get a hold over them, by an inactive, spellbound approach. They were reluctant to use their feet or rotate the strike. Dhawan played 83 balls for his 28, out of which 67 were dot balls. None of the batsmen generated a strike-rate of more than 43.

The difficulty in playing Herath was due to his dip, turn, drift, flight and variations. The more he was playd cautiously, the more he became confident and settled into a rhythm. If Ishant was undone by a ball not spinning, Rohit was defeated by a ball doing just that. Saha was drawn out of the crease for a push to the leg side, and was stumped, and following him, Harbhajan perished off a bat-pad catch by the shot leg when the batsman defended shakily. READ: Rangana Herath, Tharindu Kaushal reduce India to 78/7 against Sri Lanka at lunch on Day 4 of 1st Test at Galle

At lunch, India were three wickets away from defeat , and 98 more runs were needed to win.