India claimed two wickets in the first session of the fifth day's play to inch closer to a historic series win against hosts Sri Lanka, who went into lunch at 134/5 in the third Test at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) Ground in Colombo on Tuesday.
Following the resumption of play, captain Angelo Mathews and Kusal Perera continued from where they had left off.
Resuming the day at 67/3, the islanders managed to add 67 runs to the total until lunch. Mathews and Perera were unbeaten on 56 and 12 respectively.
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Umesh Yadav and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bagged a wicket each for the visitors in the morning session. The Indians put relentless pressure from the very beginning, especially with pacer Ishant Sharma bowling his heart out. Ishant thought he had clinched the wicket of Mathews but the edge which was easily gathered by wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha was off a no ball.
At the other end, Umesh Yadav reaped the reward as he got Kaushal Silva (27) to pull a bouncer. The right-hand batsman could only hook it to Cheteshwar Pujara at short mid-wicket. Lahiru Thirimanne was peppered with short balls and swinging deliveries that jumped off good length but he battled the early storm and supported his skipper well.
Their 33-run partnership was ended by Ashwin who bowled a looping delivery to Thirimanne (12). The left-hander closed the face of the bat but the ball managed to fly off the leading edge. Lokesh Rahul at silly point grabbed it brilliantly.
Though the Sri Lankans were defiant at times, the two wickets gave India the upper hand as they went into lunch.