(Clarifies Ashwin dismissed Dilruwan Perera in para 9)
Nov 27 (Reuters) - Indian bowlers scythed through Sri Lanka’s top and middle order on the fourth morning to put the hosts two wickets away from an innings victory in the second test and a 1-0 lead in the three-match series on Monday.
The tourists lost seven wickets in an extended morning session to be reeling on 145-8 at lunch, still 260 runs behind and staring at a morale-sapping defeat inside four days.
Captain Dinesh Chandimal was unbeaten on 53 after a defiant knock and had Suranga Lakmal on 19 for company, the duo ensuring India were not able to wrap up things by lunch in Nagpur.
India defeated the islanders by a 9-0 margin across formats earlier this year and after the draw in the rain-affected opening test in Kolkata, things were back to normal for the world’s top-ranked test side.
After resuming on 21-1, Sri Lanka kept India’s bowlers at bay for six overs before Dimuth Karunaratne was out on 18 to a freakish dismissal off left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja.
The left-handed batsman flicked Jadeja to Murali Vijay at short leg who somehow managed to cling to the ball after it hit his body.
Lahiru Thirimanne then played an irresponsible shot to a wide delivery from paceman Umesh Yadav to be caught at point for 23 in a further blow to Sri Lanka’s chances of resisting India.
Angelo Mathews also did not last long, handing Jadeja his second wicket while wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella was out to paceman Ishant Sharma.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin then got in on the act, dismissing Dasun Shanaka, Dilruwan Perera and Rangana Herath cheaply to reach 299 wickets in tests, one shy of overtaking former Australian fast bowler Dennis Lillee as the fastest to 300 wickets in the longest format.
Lillee took 56 matches to reach 300 wickets while the 31-year-old Ashwin is playing his 54th. (Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)