Rohit Sharma © AFP (File Photo)
Rohit Sharma played well for his half-century but then fell to a swivelled pull to fine leg © AFP (File Photo)

Colombo: Rohit Sharma hit 50 as India gained the upper hand in a grim battle for survival against Sri Lanka in the decisive third and final Test in Colombo on Sunday. The tourists took their second innings from the overnight score of 21-3 to 132-5 by lunch on the fourth day, an overall lead of 243 runs with five wickets in hand. A possible target of over 300 for Sri Lanka will excite India’s bowlers on a seaming pitch at the Sinhalese Sports Club where 15 wickets fell on the third day. Stuart Binny, who was out first ball in the first innings, was unbeaten on 38 after sharing a fifth-wicket partnership of 54 with Sharma. LIVE CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Colombo, Day 4

Naman Ojha was the other batsman at the crease on 11. Indian captain Virat Kohli added 20 runs to his overnight score of one when he edged seamer Nuwan Pradeep to first slip where Upul Tharanga took the catch on second attempt. LIVE CRICKET UPDATES: India vs Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Colombo, Day 4

The dismissal broke a valuable stand of 57 runs for the fourth wicket between Kohli and Sharma after India had been reduced to 7-3 on Sunday evening. Binny began by flicking Pradeep for a boundary and then cut the same bowler for another four. At the other end, Sharma grew in confidence by driving Pradeep through the covers for two successive boundaries.

Soon after Sharma reached his fourth Test half-century he gifted his wicket, hooking Dhammika Prasad to Pradeep on the fine-leg fence. Sri Lanka won the opening Test in Galle by 63 runs but India drew level with a 278-run win in the second match at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo on Monday.