India crawl back after conceding a first innings deficit

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Lokesh Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan’s counter punching opening stand helped India bounce back into the game on Day 4 in their first test against Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata.

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Indian top order dominated proceedings in the final two sessions as they stacked up 171 for 1 in quick succession to guide their team into a comfortable position at the end of day 4. Shikhar Dhawan after starting off slowly, missed out on a well-deserved century by just 6 runs. His partner Lokesh Rahul was unbeaten on 73 runs. Early on, Sri Lanka made 294 runs for their first innings thanks a brilliant knock down the order by Rangana Herath.

The 4th day started with Sri Lanka needing only 7 runs to get in the lead. Niroshan Dickwella and skipper Chandimal looked to push on and the pair added 62 runs off just 84 balls before Dickwella edged one straight to Virat Kohli at second slip. His innings of 35 looked menacing but once again he failed convert it to a big total. Lankans lost a cluster of wickets; 3 wickets in just 10 balls for just 1 run putting them on the back-foot. Dasun Shanaka was the second to fall, misjudging an in swinger from Bhuveneshawar Kumar. He was shortly followed by Chandimal who finally nicked one to the keeper after a series of pokes outside the off stump.

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The hosts had their eyes on wrapping up the Sri Lankan innings, but their plans were ruined by Sri Lanka’s lion hearted veteran Rangana Herath. The spin-master hopped, skipped and jumped but he got the job done for his team, this time with the bat. His innings of 67 runs was a counter attack on the Indian seamers who looked threatening from morning. He found good support from Suranga Lakmal who chipped in with 16 runs and the pair added 46 runs for the 9th wicket.

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Lankans were bowled out for 294 runs and most importantly they got a lead of 122 runs to put pressure on the Indian batting line up who crumbled in the first innings. But the pitch has become more batting friendly during the course of the 4 days and it paved way for the hosts to neutralize the advantage. The openers dominated from the word go and Lankan bowlers too failed to maintain consistency.

Rahul and Dhawan pilled on the runs with such ease that it almost looked like they were playing on a different pitch from what they were play on earlier. They posted 100 runs in just 24 overs. However, Sri Lanka managed break the opening stand when Dasun Shanaka found the edge of Shikhar Dhawan who were just 6 runs short of a well-deserved century. The damage was done by them as the hosts went on to end day 4 with a lead of 49 runs.