Chamara, Gambhir shine in draw
Sri Lanka Board XI 224 (Kandamby 84, Chamara 68, Kumble 3-30) and 247 for 6 dec (Chamara 59*) drew with Indians 196 for 8 dec (Tendulkar 69, Karthik 58*, Prasad 3-30) and 129 for 2 (Gambhir 60*)
India's only chance to acclimatise before the Test series ended in a tame draw with less than three days' play at the Nondescripts Cricket Club in Colombo. Having declared at an overnight 196 for 8, the tourists turned in an ordinary day in the field - Anil Kumble did not bowl a ball - as the Sri Lanka Board XI batted to 247 before handing the final session over. In that time, extended by nearly an hour, Gautam Gambhir helped himself to a fifty after Virender Sehwag fell cheaply again.
The Sri Lankan top order struggled, as on the opening day. Solid efforts here may not have entirely swayed the national selectors' decision when they meet to announce Sri Lanka's Test squad, but the single-digit scores from the openers was disappointing. Upul Tharanga edged Zaheer Khan to the wicketkeeper in the third over and Mahela Udawatte slashed Ishant Sharma in the air to backward point for 15.
Jehan Mubarak's shots remained punchy as he stood tall to get over the ball, but having made 41, he played an ugly shot. Harbhajan Singh changed ends after two overs and Mubarak charged his second delivery, only to chip the ball to point.
As Munaf Patel searched for what length to bowl, Chamara Kapugedera pulled him ferociously out of the ground. Having honed his radar, Munaf picked up Kapugedera in the 21st over, perhaps with some assistance: the ball looked to have been carrying on just over the stumps when Kapugedera was adjudged lbw for 22. Thilina Kandamby looked to score off Harbhajan - a few hard cuts scurried past the infield and one straight drive, albeit uppish, stood out - but on the stroke of lunch, Harbhajan had his man chipping loosely to Sachin Tendulkar at cover for a brisk 27.
A brief but heavy shower during the interval delayed the resumption of play for just under 50 minutes. Chamara Silva, like Kandamby, was aggressive against Harbhajan - his feet constantly moved and his bat quick to come down on anything errant. A slip mid-pitch resulted in Kaushal Silva being run out and with the second session extended, Chamara ticked along to his second fifty of the match. His cutting remained his strongest suite, and a couple of lusty blows raised the landmark. The Indians' fielding slipped dramatically in the second session, with wayward throws not always backed up correctly. Kumble refrained from bowling and Gambhir's unassuming spin was employed as support to Sehwag's offbreaks.
Dammika Prasad scored a useful 53-ball 43 and the two put on 74 for the seventh wicket. A declaration at 247 for 6 gave India the final session to test out their batting.
With Sehwag falling for 14, caught at deep square-leg, Gambhir and Rahul Dravid kept the ball on the ground. Gambhir slowed down in the process and Dravid took a while to open up, but soon sweet drives and cuts peppered the ground. The helmets came off at the arrival of spin as both batsmen tried to dominate. Gambhir succeeded with some aerial drives but Dravid was late on a shot against the left-arm spinner Rangana Herath and was bowled for 26. Play was extended until 6.10 pm and Gambhir, through solid cuts and pulls, made an unbeaten 60. Sourav Ganguly notched up 22.
Two days out of three were hit by rain, and locals expect the pattern to continue when the actual contest kicks off just down the road at the SSC on July 23.
Jamie Alter is a staff writer at Cricinfo