Ishant strikes the early blow
Off-colour pacer Ishant Sharma struck the early blow for India, picking up centurion Tharanga Paranavitana on the third day of the rain-hit first Test in Galle.
After the second day was completely washed out, play resumed after an hour's delay with Sri Lanka at 256 for two.
Ishant, who has been struggling for quite some time, tasted his first success when he induced a nick from Paranavitana, which went straight to wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Image: India's Ishant Sharma celebrates after picking up Sri Lanka's Tharanga Paranavitana
Mithun picks Samaraweera
Debutant Abhimanyu Mithun then struck another blow to the Lankan line-up when he had new batsman Thilan Samaraweera trapped leg before.
The ball that slanted in late caught Samaraweera unawares and the Hawkeye showed that it may have just kissed the top of the middle stump.
Samaraweera had earlier got a reprieve when Rahul Dravid dropped a sitter off the bowling of Mithun at first slip.
The outside edge looped up and carried straight into the Dravid's lap but failed to stick.
However, former Mahela Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews steadied the Lankan innings.
Dhoni decided to bring back the fast bowlers in pursuit of further wickers as both Mathews and Jayawardene showed little difficulty in playing the spinners.
Jayawardene's 48-run knock included six hits to the boundary.
Ishant then got Mathews as he nipped an away going delivery to be neatly taken by Lakshman at second slip.
Image: Abhimanyu Mithun reacts after picking up Thilan Samaraweera
Herath comes to party
Tailenders Rangana Herath along with Lasith Malinga put Sri Lanka in a commanding position.
Herath and Malinga retrieved the situation when Indian bowlers threatened to run through the Lankan innings after the early success.
When Muttiah Muralitharan walked in for his last Test appearance, he was accorded a grand welcome with fireworks bursting all around. The Indian players also greeted Muralitharan as he stepped out to bat.
Herath was aggressive throughout as he smashed a short length delivery from Mithun to the long off boundary for a six.
Image: Rangana Herath celebrates after reaching his half-century
Malinga hits maiden fifty
Malinga too was in the mood as he whacked a fuller delivery of Ishant to the square leg boundary.
He then clubbed the Indian paceman with a flat bat over the mid-off boundary. Malinga, who hit Pragyan Ojha for two sixes, celebrated his maiden half century in Test cricket.
The gritty batsman finally fell when he scooped an Abhimanyu Mithun delivery into the waiting hands of Harbhajan at fine leg.
Image: Lasith Malinga celebrates after reaching his half-century
Sehwag keeps India out of trouble
India were left with an arduous task of batting their way to safety after losing three key wickets in the rain-hit first cricket Test against Sri Lanka who took firm control of the game by scoring an imposing first innings total of 520 for 8 declared in Galle on Tuesday.
India ended the day at 140 for 3 at stumps - still trailing by 380 runs - with Virender Sehwag (85) and VVS Laxman (18) at the crease.
The hosts relied on the the heroics of their tail-enders Rangana Herath (80 not out) and Lasith Malinga (64) to rattle up a mammoth total before declaring their innings at tea and shut a struggling India out of the game.
The hosts had India in trouble by the end of the day after the early dismissal of Gautam Gambhir (2), Rahul Dravid (18) and Sachin Tendulkar (8).
Sehwag and Laxman ensured that there were no more setbacks as they took the score to 140 for three at close.
Image: Muttiah Muralitharan walks onto the field before the start of the Indian innings on Tuesday
Murali claims Tendulkar's wicket
With two days left in the match and the pitch at the Galle International stadium expected to deteriorate, the Indians need to bat out of their skin to ensure that Muttiah Muralitharan's swansong Test ends in a draw.
The day clearly belonged to the hosts as they not only consolidated their position by amassing a huge score but also scalped three prized wickets.
While Gambhir perished in Malinga's first over, Dravid was run out trying to go for a cheeky single. But the biggest blow for the visitors came when Tendulkar was trapped leg before by Muralitharan.
Image: Muralitharan (centre) celebrates with teammates after dismissing Sachin Tendulkar (left)