Sri Lanka Saved By Bad Light
Sri Lanka held on to a draw courtesy bad light as India dominated the fifth and final day’s play in the first Test match at Eden Gardens, Kolkata.
Indian captain Virat Kohli drove, flicked and cut his way to a commanding unbeaten 104 as India declared their second innings on 352 for 8 in 88.4 overs, setting Sri Lanka a target of 231 with 47 overs remaining (light permitting). This was Kohli’s 50th international hundred across formats, with 18 in Tests to add to his 32 in ODIs.
The Indian seam attack then demolished the Lankan batting as the islanders were tottering at 75 for 7 in 26.3 overs when bad light had the final say on the day’s proceedings.
Before the tea break, Sri Lanka lost both openers – Sadeera Samarawickrama and Dimuth Karunratne as they played on against Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami respectively, raising visions of an unlikely come-from-behind win for India.
Read: Thirimanna, Mathews fifties propel Sri Lankan dominance
Kumar struck again after the shortened tea break when one-drop batsman Lahiru Thirimanna poked at a ball outside the off stump and was caught at gully. Former captain Angelo Mathews was wrapped on the pads by Umesh Yadav and was given not out but a good review helped the hosts restrict the visitors to 22 for 4.
Just as Dinesh Chandimal and Niroshan Dickwella seemed to be building a solid stand for the 5th wicket, a peach from Shami with a hint of reserve swing knocked over the Sri Lankan captain’s timber.
Dickwella who smashed 2 sixes and 2 fours during his entertaining, aggressive 36-ball stay, which brought 27 runs for the visitors, was trapped LBW by Kumar. Dilruwan Perera survived yet another DRS call in the first ball he faced but his off-stump was uprooted by Kumar in the very next over as he took 4 for 8 from his 11 overs.
Earlier, Lakmal dismissed KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane in an extended spell in the morning to reduce India to 213 for 4. Sri Lanka’s most successful seamer in the match, Lakmal castled Rahul with a full, incoming delivery, and a little later, bounced out Pujara with a brute of a ball.
Read More: India crawl back after conceding a first innings deficit
Pujara did create his own bit of history though, becoming only the third Indian and ninth man in history to bat on all five days of a Test match. Both ML Jaisimha and Ravi Shastri, the other two Indians to have achieved the feat, did it at the Eden Gardens.
Four balls after Pujara was out, Lakmal brought one back in to rap Rahane on the pads for a duck. Ravindra Jadeja was promoted to No. 6, but was caught at slip off Dilruwan Perera while Ravichandran Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha too fell cheaply, to Dasun Shanaka. Kohli received vital company from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami as they pushed the Indian lead.
The two teams will now move to Nagpur for the second Test match which commence on 24th November, Friday.
“It was a good game of cricket and we played well, competed well. Till the last session, we fought well but unfortunately, last 10-15 overs were pressure to us. Lakmal is unbelievable, throughout the last two years. He’s the one who, as a captain, you can trust. We’ll have to learn to bat in the second innings. In UAE vs Pakistan, too we didn’t bat well in the 2nd innings. We can be lot better if we learn that.” Chandimal said at the post-match presentation.