India succumbed to the Mendis calamity as they were bundled out for 249 in the first innings of the third test at Colombo on Friday. Ajantha Mendis claimed another five wicket haul to wrap up the Indian tail after debutant Dammika Prasad made early inroads through the Indian top order.
Mendis continued to torment the Indian batting as he drew Laxman forward and was stumped by P. Jayawardena as India lost their sixth wicket. He then removed Parthiv Patel and Anil Kumble in the same over to make India eight down. Sri Lanka were looking to wrap up the Indian innings soon and pile up a big score.
The Indian team was suffering a major collapse as all of its top guns were back in the pavillion. Making a comeback in the squad after a long time, Parthiv Patel and VVS laxman were the last two recognised batsmen, who were holding the Indian fort. Gautam Gambhir after playing so well for his 50 was again decieved by Mendis, and caught him in front. While Murali again removed Ganguly, who pushed at a ball outside the off stump and was taken by Jayawardena at first slip.
After drawing level the series in Galle the India team looked to win the series in Colombo. Electing to bat first, India got off to a solid start with both openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir scoring quick runs for the Indians. Sehwag, who has had a phenomenal run in the series so far again looked threatening as he smashed the Sri Lankan bowling all over the park. Gambhir too played useful shots. New addition Dammika Prasad, then removed Sehwag to give India its first jolt.
The new man in was Rahul Dravid, who has failed to show his usual class in the recent past. Gambhir though on the other hand continued to score shots and collected boundaries. Dravid's run of bad form continued as he was caught in the front by Dammika Prasad to get his second wicket. India lost two quick wickets and Sri Lanka were applying pressure.
Sachin Tendulkar then joined the party as he was looking to achive his record in this final test. But it was not to be as he was too caught by Prasad in front of the wicket to make India three down in no time. Prasad who is the new inclusion in the Lankan side was justifying his selection by dismissing the top three Indian batsmen.
Earlier, India captain Anil Kumble won the toss on Friday and elected to bat first in the third and decisive cricket Test against Sri Lanka at the P. Saravanamuttu stadium, Colombo. Sri Lanka has dropped seamer Nuwan Kulasekara to make way for rookie Dhammika Prasad, while India has replaced wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik with Parthiv Patel.
The three-test series is tied at 1-1 going into the final match after Sri Lanka won the first test by an innings and 239 runs, and India won the second by 170 runs.
Sri Lanka : Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Kumar Sangakkara, Michael Vandort, Malinda Warnapura, Thilan Samaraweera, Tillekeratne Dilshan, Prasanna Jayawardene, Chaminda Vaas, Muttiah Muralitharan, Dhammika Prasad, Ajantha Mendis.
India: Anil Kumble (captain), Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, V.V.S. Laxman, Gautam Gambhir, Parthiv Patel, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, Zaheer Khan. Umpires: Rudi Koertzen, South Africa and Mark Benson, England . TV Umpire: Billy Doctrove, West Indies. Match Referee: Alan Hurst, Australia.