India close in on victory vs. Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's Dimuth Karunaratne plays a shot during the fourth day of the third test against India in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Dec. 5. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
Sri Lanka’s Dimuth Karunaratne plays a shot during the fourth day of the third test against India in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Dec. 5. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

Chetan Narula

New Delhi (AP) — India were closing in on victory in the third test against Sri Lanka on Tuesday, setting the tourists a massive target of 410 and reducing them to 31-3 at stumps on day four.

Pollution continued to bother players, with one Sri Lankan player vomiting on the pitch. Sri Lanka coach Nic Pothas said his players were clearly bothered by the pollution levels that have left a thick haze swirling around the ground.

India declared at 246-5 in their second innings, batting aggressively to garner as many runs as possible even though they got off to a poor start as Murali Vijay (9) was caught behind.

Ajinkya Rahane (10) was promoted to number three but fell cheaply.

Shikhar Dhawan (67) and Cheteshwar Pujara (49) added 77 runs.

“We had instructions to score quickly so we could present a target for Sri Lanka today. We had to shift gears otherwise I would have batted differently. We are in a good situation now that they are three wickets down. We will try to finish the game tomorrow,” said Dhawan after the day’s play.

“Not everyone in our team is from Delhi. So the situation isn’t a standalone for Sri Lankan players. The sun hasn’t come out much so it hasn’t helped reduce pollution in these past few days. I have grown up here and don’t think playing was a problem. It was not hampering us,” he said about the heavy haze that has enveloped the ground during the match.

Pollution has reached hazardous levels in Delhi during the game, leaving several players gasping for breath.

Earlier in the morning, Suranga Lakmal showed discomfort owing to the pollution and vomited on the field.

Virat Kohli completed his 15th test half-century off 55 balls before being caught at long on off Lahiru Gamage.

Kohli added 90 runs with Rohit Sharma (50 not out) for the fifth wicket. The latter scored his eighth test half-century off 49 balls.

Sri Lanka’s chase didn’t begin well. Sadeera Samarawickrama (5) was caught at gully off a fiery short-ball from Mohammed Shami (1-8).

The umpires deemed light too poor for pace bowlers. India deployed their spinners and Ravindra Jadeja (2-5) knocked over two more Sri Lankan wickets.

Sri Lankan coach Nic Pothas was not happy with the light situation. “It was a bit of coincidence that a wicket fell off pace. And then suddenly the umpires said that the light was not good enough. Then the spinners came on and we lost two more wickets,” he said.

“The players are clearly in discomfort but we have decided to not speak about it. We want to get on with the game,” he said.

Dimuth Karunaratne (13) was caught behind and then night watchman Lakmal (0) was bowled to leave the visitors tottering at close of play.

Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka were bowled out for 373 in their first innings.

Dinesh Chandimal (164) added 30 runs with Lakshan Sandakan (0 not out) for the final wicket.

India had declared their innings on at 536-7 after Virat Kohli (243) had scored his sixth test double hundred on day two.

India lead the three-match series 1-0 after winning in Nagpur by an innings and 239 runs. The first test in Kolkata was drawn.