Third Test Match

India v Sri Lanka

At Mumbai, December 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Drawn. Toss: Sri Lanka.

India held the upper hand but once again could not produce the incisive bowling to convert their advantage into victory on a tense final day.

Sent in, they slipped to 55 for two before two massive partnerships involving Ganguly, promoted above the out-of-touch Tendulkar, set up a formidable total. With Dravid, he put on 160 to grab the initiative; then he added a dazzling 256 with Tendulkar, an Indian fourth-wicket Test record. Dravid fell in the nineties for the second time running, edging Ranatunga to first slip, but Ganguly followed up his success earlier in the series with another scintillating century, his fifth in Tests. He reached three figures early on the second day, and went on to a Test-best 173, lasting eight hours 36 minutes and 361 balls, with 25 fours and two sixes. Tendulkar, who had laboured 71 minutes scoring eight on the first day, rediscovered his touch to match his partner stroke for stroke. He moved from 87 to 99 with successive sixes off Dharmasena and completed his 14th Test century two balls later; on the way, he brought up his 4,000th run in 58 Tests, and he was only just short of 1,000 runs in 1997, a target he reached in the next innings. But the loss of Ganguly and Tendulkar, in the space of four runs, generated a late collapse that saw seven fall for 41.

Launching Sri Lanka's reply, Jayasuriya raced to his fifty in 41 balls with nine fours. He fought an intriguing battle with Srinath, lashing him for eight fours but also receiving blows to helmet, shoulder and glove. He was caught at slip aiming a big swipe to leg off leg-spinner Kumble just before the close. Batting seemed more leisurely next day, with Atapattu and night-watchman Dharmasena carefully adding 115 before both fell to Chauhan's off-breaks. Atapattu spent almost an hour in the nineties before prodding a catch to silly point.

However, Aravinda de Silva struck another exciting fifty before he succumbed to Chauhan. Wicket-keeper Lanka de Silva was smashed in the face by a bouncer from Srinath which broke through the grille on his helmet; the wound on his left cheek required ten stitches. Srinath would have been more satisfied by his 100th Test wicket- in 30 matches - when he bowled Wickremasinghe to finish off Sri Lanka, 151 behind.

India's quest for quick runs was paced by Dravid and Sidhu, who put on 88 in almost even time. For the 13th time in his 19 Tests, Dravid reached a half-century, but again he fell short of adding to his only hundred. The middle order passed through quickly and Dharmasena secured his second five-wicket haul in Tests.

Sri Lanka were set 333 in 94 overs, and had high hopes when they reached 58 without loss. But wickets began to fall, that of Aravinda de Silva in controversial circumstances. He protested that his catcher, Chauhan, had moved back from square leg while Srinath was on his run-up to deliver the arranged bouncer, something which umpire Bucknor had noticed and checked when it happened a few minutes earlier. But, despite a wearing pitch and fading light, Sri Lanka stood firm until play was called off with 12 overs remaining.

Man of the Match: S. C. Ganguly. Man of the Series: S. C. Ganguly.

Close of play: First day, India 247-3 (S. C. Ganguly 92*, S. R. Tendulkar 8*); Second day, Sri Lanka 66-1 (M. S. Atapattu 15*, H. D. P. K. Dharmasena 0*); Third day, Sri Lanka 286-5 (P. A. De Silva 48*, H. P. Tillekeratne 4*); Fourth day, Sri Lanka 6-0 (S. T. Jayasuriya 1*, M. S. Atapattu 5*).

© John Wisden & Co