Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews fifties help Sri Lanka take charge vs India

Lahiru Thirimanne (L) and Angelo Mathews both scored fifties as Sri Lanka recovered from the loss of two early wickets against India on Saturday, Day 3 of the 1st Test, at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Nov 18, 2017 19:20 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
India vs Sri Lanka,Lahiru Thirimanne,Angelo Mathews
Lahiru Thirimanne (L) and Angelo Mathews both scored fifties for Sri Lanka against India on Day 3 of the 1st Test in Kolkata.(BCCI)

Sri Lanka recovered from the loss of two early wickets as Lahiru Thirimanne and Angelo Mathews both scored fifties to steer them out of trouble, in their response to India’s first innings score of 172 on the third day of the first Test against India at Eden Gardens on Saturday. (IND v SL HIGHLIGHTS)

Lahiru Thirimanne reached his fifty with a square-drive off Mohammed Shami, shortly after tea . This was Thirimanne’s fifth half-century in 28 Tests. He reached the milestone with eight fours and 86 balls in an innings that till then was 129 minutes old. (IND v SL SCORECARD)

The 28-year-old batsman came in at the fall of Dimuth Karunaratne’s wicket and along with Angelo Mathews steadied the Sri Lanka reply with the first real partnership of substance in this Test.

He settled down as the conditions for batting improved. He punished loose balls, hitting successive boundaries off Yadav. A cover-drive off Kumar too was straight out of the coaching manual.

Thirimanne though had got a reprieve when Shikhar Dhawan dropped him at first slip, off Umesh Yadav. He was on 27 then and Sri Lanka on 70/2.

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Angelo Mathews, on the other hand, got to his half-century, his 28th in his 70th Test, making this one good comeback story. Mathews, 30, had missed the series against Pakistan after a calf muscle injury.

Mathews got to his 50 off 88 balls in 138 minutes with eight fours.

Playing as a specialist batsman, Mathews was tested by Kumar and Shami. Mathews was squared up twice by Kumar in the 13th over and when one from Shami held its line, Mathews got an outside edge that streaked past the slips for a boundary. But when Shami went on both sides of the wicket, Mathews hit successive boundaries; one clipped off his legs and the other steered.

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Shami tested him again after tea, beating the bat repeatedly and once having an edge streaking between slips and gully. But Mathews put his head down and persevered, The 99 runs he added with Lahiru Thirimanne could have a crucial bearing on how this Test unfolds.

Thirimanne later fell for 51, while Mathews was dismissed for 52. Both fell victims to deliveries from Umesh Yadav.

Together, Mathews and Thirimanne have lifted Sri Lanka out of the woods in a number of one-day internationals, but this partnership too would be worth its weight in gold.

First Published: Nov 18, 2017 15:43 IST