India pacer Mohammed Shami returned with three wickets before a late order resistance took Sri Lanka to 263-8 at lunch on the penultimate day of the opening Test in Kolkata today.
Rangana Herath (43 not out, 6x4) gave the lower order push after Shami (3/87) removed overnight duo of Niroshan Dickwella (35) and skipper Dinesh Chandimal (28) as India claimed three wickets in 10 balls in a superb display of pace bowling inside the first hour.
Sri Lanka were also aided by another fine review to overturn an LBW decision of Dilruwan Perera (5) who was caught on camera turning towards the dressing room before asking for a review. Perera shared 43 runs with Herath before being dismissed by Shami in the 69th over.
Resuming at 165/4, Sri Lankan duo of Dickwella and Chandimal showed a positive intent and got past India's 172 in the fourth over of the day. Their intention was clear when wicketkeeper Dickwella took on Bhuvneshwar Kumar, slamming the India pacer for three boundaries in the 52nd over but Shami turned the tide in favour of India removing the overnight batsmen duo in his fourth and fifth overs of the day. Shami gave the first breakthrough of the day in form of Dickwella (35) who poked at an inswinger to be caught by Virat Kohli at second slip. In the next over Dasun Shanaka (0) was trapped by Bhuvneshwar with an in-swinger.
The decision was reviewed by Sri Lanka but it was given out after the umpire's call. In the second ball of the next over, Shami dismissed the Lankan skipper who played away from the body and took a feather edge to Saha. When it seemed India will wrap it up soon, Perera survived after Nigel Llong's decision was overturned following a review by the batsman. It reminded of the Steve Smith 'cheatgate' episode which happened during India-Australia second Test in Bengaluru last March.
The incident happened in the last ball of 57th over with Perera yet to open his account when he was struck on backfoot by an indipper. The ball was clearly in-line to be given out by Llong. Perera first looked at his partner Herath and started walking back immediately towards the pavilion.
However, all of a sudden, he opted to review after turning towards dressing. It was unclear whether any assistance came from the dressing room. The whole incident was caught on TV camera, as commentators began referring to the Smith controversy in the second Test.
The decision was eventually overturned as the impact was marginally outside the line and Perera survived but strangely there was no protest from Virat Kohli and Co. Llong was incidentally officiated as an on-field umpire during the controversial Bengaluru Test as well. Perera, however, could not make it big and got out after becoming Shami's third victim, but Herath remained solid in his counter-attacking innings to give Sri Lanka an edge.