|Scorecard:||India v Sri Lanka|
|Player:||DPMD Jayawardene, TT Samaraweera, HAPW Jayawardene|
|Event:||Sri Lanka in India 2009/10|
DateLine: 18th November 2009
It was Mahela Jayawardene all the way on Day 3 as he took over from where Tillakratne Dilshan had left. Alongside Thilan Samaraweera and later on with Prasanna Jayawardene he took Sri Lanka to a place from where the Test can have only two results. Either the tourists win or India struggle for a draw. After his brilliant double century and well assisted by good knocks from others around, Jayawardene made sure Sri Lanka cannot lose this one.
The former skipper grounded the Indian bowlers throughout the day carrying the touring party to a lead of 165 runs. After crossing the Indian total, he enabled his side to cross the 450 mark first time in the country. The former skipper was well supported first by Thilan Samaraweera in the first session and then Prasanna Jayawardene in the second.
As for the bowling, the pitch had nothing for the Indian bowlers. There was no swing for the pacers and for the spinners though there was turn, it was still so slow that the batsmen had ample time to negate it, no matter how much the ball tweaked. The only wicket that the two lead spinners after bowling more than 90 overs between then could garner was via a dodgy decision against Angelo Mathews.
The only one thing India succeeded was in setting up Samaraweera's wicket. He was first disturbed by a flurry of bouncers from Zaheer Khan and then a short one from Ishant Sharma forced him to find Yuvraj Singh at square leg.
Jayawardene though at the other end was hardly disturbed. Such was the confidence that he wasn't even beaten once in the first two sessions. Just when it seemed Matthews and Jayawardene would head into lunch undisturbed, Matthews gout out to a dodgy decision to the last ball before lunch.
After his wicket though the Jayawardenes thwarted any hopes of a quick comeback that India would have entertained while having lunch. Sri Lanka very well knew that they needed at least a lead of 100 runs to negate the fact that they would be batting last on a crumbling surface. Jayawardene made sure his side achieve's that. He struck boundaries at will to almost all bowlers including driving Zaheer for three boundaries in four balls. The boundaries brought on a two way spin attack but all turned futile since the Jayawardene duo looked hardly troubled. In fact steadily they started to push the accelerator.
What was sad to see from the Indian spinners was that none of the specialist duo could keep a tab even on the singles. They struggled badly to keep the same batsmen on strike for a good period. Such was the tenacity of Lankan batting that India only had 4 maidens in the first two sessions of play. All this forced the Indian skipper to open up the field and that only helped in getting the boundaries down since the runs still continued to come, now in the form of singles and doubles.
Even the younger of the Jayawardene kept finding gaps without any fuss. Prasanna kept picking singles giving Mahela the strike who also in his unique troublefree manner reached the three figure mark sooner. After tea he also compiled a 150 and once the Lankan total passed the Indian by more than 100, the Indians clearly started to play for time. The shoulders looked to have dropped and the fielding started to show signs of tiredness.
Dhoni tried everything which included bowling Sachin Tendulkar and Amit Mishra for a good hour from around the wicket on the rough but all the tactics failed as Mahela and Prasanna did not even relent a bit. Runs continued to come and the only thing the Indians could do was to wait for a mistake, a happening which did not happen on the third day. Mahela reached his sixth double ton shortly before the close of play via a quick single down to mid-off.
The Jayawardenes stiched up 216 runs together and the Lankans ended the day with a huge lead of 165 runs and the satisfaction that it can be only one team that could end up on the winning side from here on.