Sri Lanka was in deep trouble in the first test against India after it lost both openers without scoring at the start of the second innings on Thursday.
The hosts finished on five for two at stumps leaving the visitors with a lead of 192 runs following the first innings.
Captain Virat Kohli surprised many by starting with spin from both ends and that proved to be a masterstroke.
Dimuth Karunaratne was bowled in the fifth ball of the innings by off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. Sri Lanka sent in night watchman Dhammika Prasad in order to protect star batsman Kumar Sangakkara. However, that was for no avail as leg-spinner Amit Mishra cleaned up Kaushal Silva and eventually Sangakkara had to come and take guard.
Earlier in the day, India made 375 all out in reply to Sri Lanka’s first innings total of 183 to take a lead of 192 runs.
Centuries by captain Virat Kohli (103) and opener Shikhar Dhawan (134) helped India to steady their innings.
India consolidated without losing any wickets in the morning session. Kohli and Dhawan added 227 runs for the third wicket before Kohli was dismissed soon after completing his century. It was Kohli’s 11th Test century and he was ruled leg before wicket to Tharindu Kaushal attempting a sweep shot.
In his next over, Kaushal dismissed Ajinkya Rahane for no score when he was lbw.
Sri Lanka took the second new ball in the 87th over and Nuwan Pradeep claimed two quick wickets. Dhawan chopped one onto the stumps after making 134 in 271 deliveries with 13 fours.
Ravichandran Ashwin then was bowled through bat and pad for seven to leave India on 304 for six at tea.
Wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha fought back with the tail-enders making 60 runs. He was caught behind off Pradeep becoming the fast bowler’s third victim.
Tharindu Kaushal had conceded 91 runs when he took his first wicket by dismissing Kohli and finished with five for 134. It was the second five wicket haul for the 22-year-old youngster.
Captain Angelo Mathews didn’t take the field for Sri Lanka until after lunch due to flu and Sri Lanka was led by Lahiru Thirimanne in the morning session.
Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath failed to pick up a wicket despite bowling with excellent control. (Courtesy Associated Press)