History is stacked against India at this venue. Sri Lanka usually don't lose after they have won the toss at home. I believe as much that Sri Lanka have a good total on the board as I doubt the ability of India's bowlers to take 20 wickets cheaply.
Still, so far so good. India must look to take a handy lead in the first innings. This is a kind of pitch where you could crumble quickly in the second innings. There ought to be a reason why the hosts chose to bat first when the wicket was at its liveliest on the first day. For, they are aware of the perils of the second innings!
Having said that, India's bowling was passable. Ishant Sharma didn't get what he deserved, Abhimanyu Mithun was a tyro and Pragyan Ojha was difficult to get away. Amit Mishra could have done better but then India were handicapped by the absence of Harbhajan Singh in this must-win game.
The visitors didn't help their cause by some sloppy fielding. In the scheme of things, the drop of Kumar Sangakkara on the first morning was a calamity.
The captain was let off and he stayed long enough for the pitch and the bowlers to lose their sting. If India could have had Sri Lanka four down on the first morning, the script could have been different.
Still, I thought India could have shown more intent in their selection.
When the priority is not to lose series, the best course would have been to pick an extra bowler. The batsmen didn't need a shield. The bowlers did given their heavy workload in the past three weeks. An extra medium pacer could have been very handy on the first morning.
A fault of the bowlers was their inability to string together good deliveries. They did not bowl well in tandem and the overstepping too did not help the cause. They were able to keep the scoring down but that was more because the batsmen were prepared to play a smart game.
I have a nagging suspicion that Thilan Samaraweera possibly played the innings of the match.
His century, largely secured with the help of the lower half, was admirable. He held out during a critical stretch of play on the first day when the second new ball was taken.
He then stood firm when the bowlers returned fresh on the second morning.
Still, it should be an intriguing contest. For India to win, a Sehwag special could be crucial.