Ajinkya Rahane scored his fourth Test century on Day Four of second Test at P Sara Oval, Colombo © AFP
Ajinkya Rahane scored his fourth Test century on Day Four of second Test at P Sara Oval, Colombo © AFP

Former captain Sunil Gavaskar suggested that India should play aggressively and put on good score to give the bowlers enough time to bowl Sri Lankan batsmen out and level the series. In his column for Times of India, Gavaskar wrote, “India have given themselves a good chance of levelling the series by taking a healthy lead over the Lankans and with two more days left, they could win the Test. India lost the first innings centurion Rahul early, but [Murali] Vijay and [Ajinkya] Rahane have batted well without taking too many risks. They will have to up the scoring rate if they are hoping to declare after tea time on Day Four and leave the Lankans around four sessions to survive. The pitch is still pretty good to bat on, so India will have to live up to their intent of playing aggressively with the bat to get enough runs for the declaration.” India cannot afford to keep shuffling batsmen at the crucial No. 3 spot

Gavaskar stated that India will be looking to put pressure on the Lankan batsmen and forcing them to play silly. “The pitch is still playing well and does not have the turn or the variable bounce that the pitch at Galle had, so it won’t be easy but pressure is known to make even experienced players do silly things and that is what the Indians will be hoping to get the Lankans to do. Of course, it’s important for them to bat well in the second innings too and score enough runs so that Kohli is able to declare and also give his bowlers enough time to bowl Sri Lanka out in the second innings.” Indian Bowlers’ Day Out against Sri Lanka in 2nd Test

“The pitch seemed to have more bounce on Day Three than on the first day when perhaps the moisture under the surface had made it slower and lower. Ishant [Sharma] was getting the ball to thud into keeper [Wriddhiman] Saha’s gloves and even [Stuart] Binny bowling around the 125 kph speed was getting the ball to carry nicely to the ‘keeper whenever he bowled a fuller length. The pre-lunch session belonged to the Lankans and especially their skipper Angelo Mathews, whose aggressive batting kept the scoreboard moving nicely .That gave [Lahiru] Thirimanne the confidence to take his time to settle down and play himself in and get a half-century.” Virat Kohli must back his decisions

“The second new ball was the undoing of Thirimanne as he went for a flashy drive off Ishant and was caught behind. Ishant then produced a snorter that had the first Test centurion, Di nesh Chandimal taking evasive action and followed that up with the perfect delivery that left him ever so slightly and the resultant edge was taken on the second attempt by Rahul. Amit Mishra then joined the party and cleaned up the tail capturing four wickets in the bargain,” Gavaskar concluded.