India strived hard to make sure Sri Lanka didn't run away with the game on Saturday. The spinners bowled reasonably well in tandem and even Sangakkara couldn't put his foot down on the accelerator. Frankly, Sri Lanka were still looking to hold the leverage by close.
But this grit was more than offset by the cruel hand of fate which laid low four of India's stalwarts. VVS Laxman twisted his ankle before the start of play; Sachin Tendulkar stretched and fell awkwardly on his elbow to be out of the field for half of the day; Ishant Sharma went away clutching his back in the middle of an over and Parthiv Patel all but came to grief for foolishly avoiding helmet while keeping to Anil Kumble. As one of Kumble's special delivery reared up from the rough outside the left-hander's off-stump, Patel was struck a nasty blow on his nose. He bore it with a grin but frankly it was a sickening blow.
A familiar Indian tale of capitulation in the decider appeared on when even Chaminda Vaas wasn't to be dislodged in the first session. Vaas enjoyed himself in the middle on a slow pitch and batted mostly with a straight bat. Indians looked in for a long haul during the day.
Harbhajan, as he had done in Galle, stemmed the rot in the afternoon. He got two quick wickets, including the one of Mahela Jayawardene, and it fired his fellow men. Kumble suddenly rediscovered his legendary zeal and balls began to pass the bats more often. It's a moot point if India, and not Sri Lanka, would have been in front had a few of the reviews and of course Sangakkara hadn't stood in the way.
If it's my bane to be a fortune-teller, I would think Lanka would end up with a handy 50-75 run lead. India's response would largely depend on how Virender Sehwag shapes up in the second innings.