An Independence Day gift from Team India
Day 1 -
Day Opening duo of Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul were on song right from the beginning, going on to complete individual fifties prior to lunch.
Post the lunch break Dhawan (119) slammed his 6th Test ton, but perished soon. Rahul (85) was the first to depart though. The hosts made a strong comeback as the hosts, soon took the charge of the game by picking up some quick wickets before the Tea break.
Sri Lanka came hard on India post the Tea interval as the famed Indian middle-order could not get going with Virat Kohli (42) and Ajinkya Rahane(17) not getting the big score. Ravichandran Ashwin (31) departed just before the day ended, nicking one to Dickwella off Fernando. The tourists are now resting their hopes on Hardik Pandya (1*) and Saha (13*). The duo will look to stitch a big partnership when they come out to bat on Sunday.
At stumps on day 1, India finished at 329/6. A commendable fight back from Dinesh Chandimal and Co.
Day 2 –
Sri Lanka started day 2 of the third Test at Pallekele on a positive note by getting rid of Wriddhiman Saha (16) early. Post that Hardik Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav added 62 vital runs on the board. Kuldeep (26) departed after playing an useful cameo. Post this, Pandya took the charge and slammed his maiden Test ton off only 86 balls, right before going into the lunch break. In the process, he slammed 7 sixes, the second highest by an Indian Test player in an innings. Soon after the interval Sandakan got his man as Hardik (108) became his 5th victim and India were eventually bowled for a mamoth 487.
A charged up Indian team then came out to bowl and got success early. Mohammad Shami showed his class with the new red cherry by removing Dimuth Karunaratne (4) and Upul Tharanga (5) cheaply. The situation became worse for the hosts with Kusal Mendis (18) and Angelo Mathews (13) also being sent back to the pavilion before the Tea break.
It was one-way traffic all the way after that as Kuldeep Yadav (4/40) gave an exhibition of mystery and guile, recording his best Test figures. Ravichandran Ashwin (2/20) too chipped in as Sri Lanka were bundled out for a mere 135 to hand Team India a 352-run lead. Besides skipper Dinesh Chandimal (48) none of the other batsmen showed resilience in the middle. Having bowled out the Lankans in only 37.4 overs, Virat Kohli had no hesitation in enforcing the follow-on.
Just when it seemed that Sri Lanka openers will survive till stumps, Umesh Yadav came into the attack and disturbed Tharanga's (7) furniture. Karunaratne (12*) and Malinda Pushpakumara (0*) have a big mountain to climb when the duo come out to bat on Day 3. Meanwhile, India are in the driver's seat as they another day of complete dominance with a lead of 333 runs after Sri Lanka limped their way to 19/1 in the second innings.
Day 3 –
Sri Lanka began Day 3 of the third Test against India at Pallekele on a shaky note, losing a couple of quick wickets in Dimuth Karunaratne (16) and Malinda Pushpakumara (1). Later on, Mohammad Shami joined the party by bowling a peach of a delivery to trap Kusal Mendis (12) in front of the stumps. The hosts slipped further into the jaws of a big defeat with Indian spinners getting good purchase from the pitch. Skipper Kohli marshalled his troops for the lunch break after displaying sheer dominance on the field.
Post lunch, Kuldeep Yadav bagged his first scalp of the second innings by removing the big fish, Dinesh Chandimal (36). At the other end, Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed Angelo Mathews (35) to add more venom to Sri Lanka’s misery. After that, Niroshan Dickwella kept the battle alive by playing his natural attacking game. But he was just delaying the inevitable.
Umesh Yadav came in for his new spell and ended Dickwella’s (41) entertaining knock. Ashwin completed the final rites, disturbing Lahiru Kumara's (10) stumps. India won the match by an innings and 171 runs, bowling out the hosts for 181 in the second innings. History was made as India won the series 3-0, first time that they had whitewashed their opponents away from home in a minimum 3-Test series. Shikhar Dhawan was awarded with the Man of the Series, while Hardik Pandya was adjudged the Man of the Match for his all-round show with bat and ball in the third Test.