Sri Lanka’s wheels fell off after the Test against India here in Galle yesterday — well and truly exposing their limitations in all departments of the game. Chasing a huge 550 runs to win, Sri Lanka were bowled out for 245, with India recording a comprehensive 304-run win to climb one up in the three-match [...]


Lankans crashland

Indians walk off with a huge 304 win on flat wicket

Sri Lanka’s wheels fell off after the Test against India here in Galle yesterday — well and truly exposing their limitations in all departments of the game.

Chasing a huge 550 runs to win, Sri Lanka were bowled out for 245, with India recording a comprehensive 304-run win to climb one up in the three-match series.

For a team that had beaten the tourists at the same venue in 2015, yesterday’s loss was an embarrassment for the Sri Lankans. It wasn’t that Sri Lanka were expected to defeat the world’s top-ranked team after having scraped through against the bottom-ranked Zimbabweans a fortnight ago. But the manner in which they conducted the game caused many raised eyebrows.

From Shikar Dhawan’s swashbuckling first innings century–which led India to a mammoth score of 600–to Virat Kohli’s unbeaten hundred in the second innings that helped set a target of 550, the visitors were flawless in their operation. Barring fighting Nuwan Pradeep, they made easy meat of the hapless Sri Lankan bowlers.

The pitch seemed as flat as the Southern Expressway. It assisted neither seamers nor spinners. The Sri Lankan batsmen only had to play with composure. Instead, they fell like bowling pins, exposing a dire lack of confidence and poise.

“We only have ourselves to blame for this defeat”, skipper Rangana Herath said after the match. “It was a disappointing end. But all credit to India. Their plans worked well.

“We should have played much better than we did. We did not bowl well as a unit and our batters did not apply themselves enough after being among the runs. We were not at our best although we had the potential to do better.”

India, who resumed their innings on 189 for three, added further 51 runs within the first half-hour before declaring their innings on 240 for three after Indian skipper Kohli smashed his 17th Test hundred.

Kohli had resumed the day on 76 and remained unbeaten on 103 after reaching the three-figure mark with a single off-spinner, Dilruwan Perera. The century ended a poor run in tests for Kohli, who had totalled a meagre 49 runs in his last six innings.

With a mountain to climb and two batsmen short, the hosts needed a miraculous effort to win or save the test. What they produced was another lackluster batting display to help India’s success. This was their third Test win against Sri Lanka, having bounced back to clinch the subsequent two Tests after the 2015 Galle loss.

Sri Lanka had their share of misfortune. They lost skipper Dinesh Chandimal, who was ruled out with pneumonia. Then, all-rounder Asela Gunaratne returned to Colombo with a broken finger even before the end of first day’s play. On day three, stand-in-skipper Rangana Herath suffered a blow to his thumb and did not take the field the next day.  Sri Lanka battled with only eight batsmen.

Opener Dimuth Karunaratne (97) and Niroshan Dickwella added 101 runs for fifth wicket, the best partnership of Sri Lanka’s innings– the only silver lining in an otherwise disastrous show of batting. But when Dickwella was caught behind off Ravichandran Ashwin for 67 while attempting to sweep, the writing was on the wall for the Sri Lankans. They lost two wickets apiece on either side of lunch break and gave up the remaining four wickets after tea to end a miserable campaign.  Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja finished with three wickets each to wrap things up for the tourists.

“There are still some areas that we want to look back and try to improve upon; especially when you get four-five wickets and not letting the lower order to get away with the few runs in the latter half of the innings. It’s something that we can still identify and work on in the next two games as well,” Indian skipper Kohli said at the end of the match.

“But all in all, I think, playing Test cricket – February is the last when we last played Test cricket – and from then having played so much one-day cricket and not having the time to prepare so much in between… I think from that point of view it was good to get back into the groove and do things that are supposed to be done to win a Test match. From that point of view, I feel we had a pretty good game.


India 1st innings 600 (S. Dhawan 190, C. Pujara 153, A. Rahane 57, H. Pandya 50; N. Pradeep 6-132)
Sri Lanka 1st innings 291 (D. Perera 92no, A. Mathews 83, U. Tharanga 64)
India 2nd innings (Overnight: 189-3)
S. Dhawan c Gunathilaka b D. Perera 14
(Cuts but picks the man at point)
A. Mukund lbw b Gunathilaka 81
(Plays down the wrong line. Hits on the front pad. Given out. Appeal turned down)
C. Pujara c K. Mendis b Kumara 15
(Flicks it, ball flies to leg gully)
V. Kohli not out 103
A. Rahane not out 23
Extras (lb-1 nb-1 w-2) 4
Total (for 3 wickets declared, 53 overs) 240
Fall of wickets: 1-19 S. Dhawan, 2-56 C. Pujara, 3-189 A. Mukund
Did not bat: H. Pandya, W. Saha, M. Shami, U. Yadav, R. Jadeja, R. Ashwin
Bowling: Nuwan Pradeep 12-2-63-0(nb-1), Dilruwan Perera 15-0-67-1, Lahiru Kumara 12-1-59-1(w-2), Rangana Herath 9-0-34-0, Danushka Gunathilaka 5-0-16-1
Sri Lanka 2nd Innings
Dimuth Karunaratne b Ashwin 97
(Looking to sweep, bowled off an inside edge)

Upul Tharanga b Mohammed Shami 10
(Back of length, angling in, inside edge to the wicket)
Danushka Gunathilaka c Pujara b Yadav 2
(Flicks it straight to short square leg fielder)
Kusal Mendis ct Saha b Jadeja 36
(Plays inside the line, gets a thin edge to the keeper. Turned down by on-field umpire. Decision reversed)
Angelo Mathews c Pandya b Jadeja 2
(Spoons it to backward point)
Niroshan Dickwella c Saha b Ashwin 67
(Extra bounce catches the top edge, a thin one, and Saha pouches it)
Dilruwan Perera not out 21
Nuwan Pradeep c Kohli b Ashwin 0
(The ball brushes the glove and loops to leg slip)
Lahiru Kumara c Shami b Jadeja 0
(Swing at it and a top edge flies to the mid-off)
Rangana Herath retired hurt 0
Asela Gunaratne retired hurt 0
Extras (lb-3 w-7) 10
Total (all out, 76.5 overs) 245
Fall of wickets: 1-22 U. Tharanga,2-29 D. Gunathilaka,3-108 K. Mendis,4-116 A. Mathews,5-217 N. Dickwella,6-240 D. Karunaratne,7-240 N. Pradeep,8-245 L. Kumara
Bowling: M. Shami 9-0-43-1(w-5), U. Yadav 9-0-42–1, R. Jadeja 24.5-4-71-3, R. Ashwin 27-4-65-3,H. Pandya 7-0-21-0(w-2).



Gone - Lankan opener Dimuth Karunaratne who made a fighting knock of 92 in a vein battle is dismissed by Indian bowler Ravichandran Ashwin as wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha looks on during the fourth day of the first Test match between Sri Lanka and India at Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle. Pix by Amila Gamage

Close call for Kusal Mendis

Kohli overjoyed with Niroshan Dickwella's dismissal

Mission accomplished with a rest day at hand

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