Authoritative India win Galle Test

Day 4

Team India scored 51 in 6.3 overs and declared the innings with Virat Kohli, who resumed on 76, bringing up his 17th Test hundred and 10th as a captain. Sri Lankan batsmen had a near impossible task ahead of them, chasing 550 for an improbable victory. Tharanga and Karunaratne walked to the crease and just 2.5 overs later, Shami got India their first wicket as the former chopped one back onto his stumps. Umesh shared the new ball from the other end and dismissed Gunathilaka (2) soon after. The hosts were 29/2.

But then Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis took Sri Lanka to lunch with a half-century stand for the third wicket. However, soon after lunch, Ravindra Jadeja showed his class and struck back to back as Kusal Mendis (36) and Mathews (2) returned to the pavilion. While Mendis was caught behind, Mathews sent a leading edge to backward point where Hardik Pandya held it comfortably.

The fifth-wicket partnership looked unlikely to last too long when it began, with Dickwella playing a series of risky shots while new at the crease. But he held himself back and eventually settled. Sri Lanka could breathe a little easier, particularly with Karunaratne looking calm and composed at the other end. But danger was never too far away.

Soon after tea, both batsmen were out, sweeping Ashwin. Dickwella (67) first and Karunaratne (97) followed him 11.3 overs later, drawing a bottom-edge onto his stumps. Nuwan Pradeep then fell for a two-ball duck of an Ashwin off-break that grabbed the inside-edge on its way to a diving catch at leg slip. Lahiru Kumara was last to go, as he top-edged Jadeja's ball to mid-off where Shami was placed. With injuries leaving Rangana Herath and Asela Gunaratne unavailable to bat, India sealed the victory and took a 1-0 lead in the Test Series. This was India’s biggest win away from home, in terms of runs. Shikhar Dhawan was awarded as the ‘Man of the Match’ for his brilliant first innings knock of 190.

Day 3

Sri Lanka started Day 3 on 154/5 with Angelo Mathews and Dilruwan Perera on the crease. The pair displayed solid cricket as they took the score beyond 200. But Jadeja struck at the right time as Mathews (83) failed to complete his ton. Dilruwan was anchoring the innings from one end but the tail-enders failed to stick with him. While Rangana Herath made just 9, Nuwan Pradeep and Lahiru Kumara managed 10 and 2 runs respectively. With Asela Gunaratne not available to bat, it left Dilruwan stranded on a well-made 92 as Sri Lanka were all out for 291. Jadeja finished with figures of 3/67, as Shami picked a couple. Umesh, Ashwin and Hardik got one wicket each.

India decided not to enforce the follow-on in spite of having a lead of 309. Shikhar Dhawan wasted no time as he hit 14 runs with 3 fours in it. But Dilruwan got the better off him quickly. Mukund, who failed in the first innings, looked more comfortable this time. He along with Pujara started to build a good partnership but the latter got out after making 15. India were 56/2 as rain came down.

Virat Kohli made his way to the middle once the play resumed. The Indian captain had failed to make a big score in the last few Test innings and needed one badly. Kohli played confidently as he hit the ball with authority in the start. Mukund, on the other hand, was doing his job well. The duo completed their respective fifties as the visitors carried on with the lead. India had not lost a wicket in the last session, until the final over. Mukund failed to connect his bat and was adjudged LBW, off Danushka Gunathilaka. India ended the day on 189/3, leading by 498 runs with Kohli still being there at 76. Will India continue to score their runs freely or Sri Lanka pick quick wickets on Day 4? Let’s wait and watch.

Day 2

India started Day 2 of the first Test against Sri Lanka at Galle on 399/3 with Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane at the crease. Pujara reached to 150 soon after but was dismissed by peach of a delivery on 153. Lahiru Kumara picked up his first Test wicket in the form of Rahane, who made 57. Ravichandran Ashwin played a great hand but fell short by 3 runs off 50. India, playing with a long batting line-up, had the likes of Wriddhiman Saha, Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja still waiting to come.

While Saha (16) and Jadeja (15) failed to get going, Hardik, on his debut played a quickfire knock of 50. He hit three sixes, the highest by any debutant for India in Test cricket. Mohammed Shami used the long handle well, as he scored 30 off same number of deliveries. India ended their first innings on a massive total of 600. Nuwan Pradeep picked up 3 wickets today as well to finish with overall figures of 6/132. Lahiru Kumara (3/131) and Rangana Herath (1/159) were in the wickets list as well.

In reply, Sri Lanka didn’t get off to a great start. Opener Dimuth Karunaratne departed after making just 2, LBW to Umesh Yadav. Upul Tharanga and Danushka Gunathilaka had a 61-run partnership before the latter was dismissed by Shami. The hosts suffered another blow in the same over as Kusal Mendis went back to the pavilion without troubling the scorers.

The experienced pair of Tharanga and Angelo Mathews took control of the game, post tea. The duo scored at a good rate as Indian bowlers failed to make an impact. The partnership was broken, thanks to some brilliant work by Mukund at silly point as Tharanga departed for 64. One wicket was followed by another as Mukund took a good one-handed catch to dismiss Niroshan Dickwella (8), off Ashwin. Mathews, meanwhile completed his fifty as Sri Lanka ended Day 2 at 154/5 and still trail the visitors by 446 runs.

Day 1

Indian captain, Virat Kohli won the toss and had no hesitation to bat first against Sri Lanka in the first Test at Galle. While Hardik Pandya made his Test debut, opener Shikhar Dhawan made a comeback to the side. The other opener, Abhinav Mukund, failed to get going and returned to the pavilion after making just 12. But then it was the Shikhar Dhawan-Cheteshwar Pujara show as both batsmen gave no chance to the opposition. While Dhawan was the aggressive one, Pujara played his natural game. The duo scored 253 runs before getting separated. Dhawan made 190 runs in just 168 balls as the southpaw made a strong statement for a permanent place in Tests.

Captain Virat Kohli had a rare off day at the crease as he got out after making just 3. But Pujara was at his solid best as he struck his 12th Test ton and made 144 to remain not out. Ajinkya Rahane gave him able support from the other end and was unbeaten on 39. For Sri Lanka, Nuwan Pradeep picked up all 3 wickets with other bowlers failing to impress. India ended the day on 399/3, which is their second highest total on Day 1 of a Test match. India had made 417/2 in Kanpur (2009-10) against the same opposition and coincidently, the third best score (385/6) is against the Lankans again.

PC - ESPNCricinfo

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