One of the best days for the bowlers - Ojha
This was perhaps India's best day on the tour. You could argue that India dominated the fourth day of the SSC Test, but here both their wings worked. The bowling unit easily had its best day of the tour, taking six wickets for 132 runs, in 51.1 overs, bowling only two no-balls, compared to yesterday's 11. At the heart of it was Pragyan Ojha, getting consistent turn, staying accurate, going for just 37 runs in 20 overs for the wickets of Angelo Mathews and Prasanna Jayawardene, and ending with his career-best figures of 4 for 115.
"This is one of the best days for the bowling group [on the tour], because the way we planned we executed," Ojha said. "We planned it out, and we were very strict on things. [We knew] we shouldn't try too many things. We were just sticking to our basics."
It has been a steeping learning curve for Ojha. Right from the tour game, he has had problems with no-balls - not as much as Amit Mishra though - and the Sri Lankan batsmen have often tucked in to him. In this match he was part of India's most inexperienced attack since the Chennai Test of 2000-01, against Australia.
"When such a situation comes you can take it in a negative way as well as a positive way," Ojha said. "I think I took it in a positive way, because it was a great opportunity to show your worth and why you are playing for the country."
After a much-improved bowling performance, a dominating Virender Sehwag then put India in a position from where they can negate the handicap of having to play the last innings. "He's like playing on a different wicket," Thilan Samaraweera, who finished his 12th Test century earlier in the day, said. "If he gets out, it looks like a totally different wicket. And lot of things turn around. He's the key man for us to get out."
India will also know that they need a big lead in the first innings because Sri Lanka, already ahead in the series, won't be too keen on a sporting declaration. Perhaps this is the first time in the series that Sri Lanka will be feeling any kind of pressure at the end of a day's play. The next three days promise exciting cricket.
Sidharth Monga is a staff writer at Cricinfo