Teams play out high-scoring draw
Sri Lanka 642 for 4 dec (Sangakkara 219, Jayawardene 174, Paranavitana 100) and 129 for 3 dec (Sangakkara 42*, Paranavitana 34) drew with India 707 (Tendulkar 203, Raina 120, Mendis 4-172)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out
The second Test laboured to its predictable end but not without some encouraging signs for India on the final day. The tenth-wicket pair of Ishant Sharma and Pragyan Ojha, who had offered resistance in Galle, repeated the feat with more ease and kept the Sri Lankan bowlers at bay for 27.1 overs before the Indian bowlers, who have been dominated in this series, took three wickets, auguring well for the final Test at the P Sara Stadium.
The start to the Sri Lankan second innings, however, gave little indication that India's bowlers would do better. The seamers often dropped short and Tharanga Paranavitana promptly slashed both Abhimanyu Mithun and Ishant Sharma for boundaries through point. He also cashed in when the ball was pitched up, driving Ishant confidently down the ground. Mithun got a bit of movement with the new ball and beat Paranavitana on a couple of occasions, but it was a short delivery that earned him a breakthrough as Tillakaratne Dilshan mistimed a pull to midwicket.
Though the run-flow remained steady, the spinners targeted the footmarks to unsettle the batsmen. They found grip as well as some extra bounce, prompting MS Dhoni to attack with more close-in fielders. Harbhajan Singh bowled fuller than he had in the first innings and occasionally got sharp turn against the left-handers when coming round the wicket. Paranavitana, who had scored a century in each of his two innings before this, edged one straight to slip.
Harbhajan, who had three slips at one stage, almost put an end to Mahela Jayawardene's prolific run by inducing a top-edged sweep but was denied by Mithun's misjudgement in the deep. The turn eventually did Jayawardene in, as he was hit on the pads by Virender Sehwag, though replays suggested the ball would have missed leg stump. Sri Lanka saw through some testing overs by Ojha before Kumar Sangakkara and Dhoni decided to end the game 70 minutes before the scheduled close of play.
The improved performance with the ball backed up a spirited stand by Ishant and Ojha, who took India to their highest score in an overseas Test in also their longest innings away from home in terms of overs faced. Sangakkara persisted with spin for the first hour and the batsmen survived a few close shaves: several lbw appeals, though none were close enough, a run-out attempt and an edge that just fell short of slip. But Ishant and Ojha were largely comfortable, firm in defence, adept at picking Ajantha Mendis' variations on a slow pitch and committed to delaying the Sri Lankan second innings. Runs came at a trickle, and the highlight for each batsman was an elegant cover drive for four.
The fast bowlers had a bit more to cheer, as they ruffled the tailenders with some short deliveries when brought on after the drinks break. Ojha preferred to back away than play from the crease, and Ishant, though more assured, eventually spooned a catch to gully off Dilhara Fernando to end Sri Lanka's frustration. Sangakkara, however, will be presumably discouraged that his bowling attack, irrespective of the match-winners missing from the first Test and the flat track on offer, took as long as it did to finish things off.
Amid the suffering, Sri Lanka edged the contest between the two weakened bowling line-ups. The three-wicket burst on the third morning by Mendis and Suraj Randiv had given the visitors a genuine scare, and it could have got worse had Sachin Tendulkar, who was dropped on 29, and Suresh Raina, who survived a close lbw shout, not had their moments of fortune. But a more rewarding final day for the Indian bowlers, particularly their spinners, should give them some reason for cheer going into the third Test.
Siddhartha Talya is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo