If the Indians feel like the Gods are against them at the moment, you can’t fault them. Sri Lanka made them work hard for even meagre returns.
What you can scarcely account for is four players sustaining varied injuries in a single day.
Bad news began to trickle in before the start, with VVS Laxman spraining his left ankle during warm-up. An MRI scan ruled out serious damage but a light sprain meant he did not take the field, and will only be eligible to bat at No. 7 in the second innings.
The second casualty was Sachin Tendulkar, who lunged to his right at backward short-leg, fumbled the ball, landed on his left elbow, hyperextending and jarring it. He would take no further part on the day.
Ishant Sharma fell over while bowling the third ball of his 15th over, landing hard on his side and rolling over onto his back in his followthrough. He immediately limped off in serious pain.
Parthiv Patel capped off a day where the doctor was kept on his toes when a Kumble delivery hit the flap of Kumar Sangakkara’s pad and ricocheted up to him in the face. Not wearing a helmet, Parthiv was struck flush on the cheek, and narrowly avoided a serious injury. An ice pack was applied and a helmet called for as Parthiv continued behind the stumps.
Nitin Patel, India's physio, however, did not want to speculate which players would be able to take part on Sunday.
‘A lot of work is left’
While India were fervently trying to wrap up the Sri Lankan innings, the hosts knew that they held the edge and hoped to press on. “It was a tough day today. Tomorrow will be the same,” said Trevor Bayliss, Sri Lanka’s coach.
“We’ll be looking to get as far ahead as we can and bowl them out again. There’s still a lot of hard work to be done for both teams.”
Bayliss, however, admitted a quick end to the innings would bring India right back.
“We will take any lead we get and then look to bowl as well as we have done in the previous five innings,” he said.