India were battling for survival in the third Test after Sri Lanka had buried them in an avalanche of runs before declaring their first innings at 610 for six on the third day here today.
As many as four Sri Lankan batsmen scored centuries and Sri Lanka took a commanding 376 run lead over India's first innings score of 234.
India had wiped out 28 of those by the end of third's day play with all their wickets intact. Shiv Sunder Das was on 22 and Sadgopan Ramesh on four when the stumps were drawn for the day with a herculean task remaining on the next two days.
It was a frustrating day for the Indians who saw one Sri Lankan batsman after another scoring centuries and could do nothing about it. Overnight batsmen Mahela Jayawardene and Marvan Atapattu went on to score big hundreds and off-spinner Tilan Samaraweera followed suit to become only the third Sri Lankan to score a century on debut.
The Indians managed just one wicket in the entire day when Jayawardene was adjudged leg before wicket to Sairaj Bahutule for 139 before Sri Lanka put an end to their agony by declaring the innings midway through the final session.
Hashan Tillekaratne remained unbeaten on 136 and his undefeated seventh wicket partnership with Samaraweera fetched 194 runs. Sri Lanka's declaration came immediately after Samaraweera reached his century with a four to the third man bounday. He remained unbeaten on 103.
Unlike yesterday, India had no chances today and the bowlers were totally clueless. Runs flowed freely for Sri Lanka with all the three centurions today dominating a session each. Sri Lanka started the day at their overnight 323 for five and both Jayawardene and Tillekaratne scored fluently.
Jayawardene, who was on 95 yesterday, brought up his seventh Test century in style, his first two scoring shots being boundaries off Venkatesh Prasad and Harbhajan Singh.
Having crossed the milestone, Jayawardene cut loose and hit Prasad through the covers and lofted Harbhajan over mid-on for another couple of fours.
Indian captain Saurav Ganguly opened the bowling with Prasad, the most effective bowler yesterday, but both were unimpressive. Zaheer Khan, who replaced Prasad after six overs, has not been fully fit in this Test and once again was wayward.
Tillekaratne, who started tentatively, settled down slowly, helped by some inept bowling by the Indians. The duo scored at a brisk pace and brought Sri Lanka's 400 in the 117th over.
Jayawardene was dismissed just 10 minutes before lunch when he came forward to play a defensive shot against Bahutule. Only the bowler went in appeal when the ball hit the pads but umpire David Orchard of South Africa upheld the appeal and Jayawardene had to walk back. His 139 came off 216 balls and contained 14 fours and a six.
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