The spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja took three wickets each to help India thrash Sri Lanka by 304 runs in the opening Test and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series at the Galle International Stadium here on Saturday. The Indians outplayed Rangana Herath and his boys in all the departments throughout the four days and in the end it was an easy win for the visitors.
In the process, India recorded their biggest away win, in terms of run-margin, while it’s Sri Lanka’s biggest defeat at home.
Chasing 550 to win was always going to be an uphill task and it was more about the hosts stretching the game into the fifth day. But Ashwin and Jadeja ensured that the resistance was finally broken in the 77th over as Jadeja sent back Lahiru Kumara for a duck to ensure a winning start for India. While Ashwin finished with 3 for 65, Jadeja had figures of 3 for 71.
Catch the match scorecard here.
Injuries to Asela Gunaratne — in the first session of the opening day — and skipper Herath — while fielding on Friday — meant that the visitors needed to pick just 8 wickets in the second innings. With Dimuth Karunaratne (97) and Niroshan Dickwella (67), the hosts would have hoped for taking the Test in to the final day after being 192 for 4 at tea. But Ashwin ended his wait for the first wicket in the second innings by inducing an edge from Dickwella and then cleaned up a well-settled Karunaratne, who was nearing a well-deserved century, to bring India on the brink of wrapping the Test on the penultimate day.
Earlier, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav used the new ball impressively. Shami sent back Upul Tharanga (10) while Yadav scalped Danushka Gunathilaka (2) inside the first 10 overs and from here on it was an impossible task for the Lankans. Jadeja then took both the wickets that fell post lunch. He first removed Mendis who feathered an edge to the wicketkeeper and then Angelo Mathews (2), who played a loose shot to offer a leading edge.
Karunaratne and stumper Niroshan Dickwella steadied Sri Lanka and helped the hosts to cross the 190-run mark without any hiccups. However, the partnership was broken by Ashwin who removed Dickwella in the 61st over. Karunaratne still kept on fighting, but missed his century mark by three runs as he was also sent back by Ashwin.
Also read: India in Sri Lanka: Virat Kohli Credits Team For Special Win in Galle
Earlier, India started off on expected lines with Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane looking to add a few quick runs in the morning session. They stayed positive from the word go and scoresee at a brisk pace to add 51 runs from the 6.3 overs with Kohli completing his 17th Test hundred and Rahane too getting some quality batting practice.
While Kohli finished unbeaten on 103 off 136 balls, vice-captain Rahane finished on 23 off 18 balls. By the time Kohli decided to pull down the shutters, India’s lead had extended to 549 and meant that Lanka would need 550 to win the game.