Colombo: India claimed their first ever 3-0 series win overseas, beating Sri Lanka in the third and the final Test at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, Pallekele on Monday by an innings and 171 runs.
Indian bowlers did not take much time to wrap up Sri Lanka’s second innings on day three and if it was not for skipper Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews dogged resistance in the first session, India would have had the win much earlier.
Starting the day at 19 for 1, Sri Lanka lost three wickets by the time they could add 15 more runs and the writing seemed to be on the wall, until Chandimal and former skipper Mathews put on 65 runs for the fifth wicket, to allow the team to go in to lunch at 82 for 4, still trailing India’s first innings score of 487 by 270 runs. However, after the break, the departures of both the well set batsmen spell doom for the Sri Lankans and they folded for 181.
For Sri Lanka, it was a chance to go down fighting and that fighting spirit was shown well by both Chandimal and Mathews. May be the fact that they have little to do in terms of impact in the match helped them play without pressure. But in the end, that amounted for nothing.
Mohammad Shami once again set the tone with a probing spell early but it was his opening partner for the day, Ravichandran Ashwin who got the first breakthrough in the form of SL’s highest run-getter in the series, Dimuth Karunaratne. Karunaratne was undone by a flatter one that slid on; with the batsman edging to first slip Ajinkya Rahane.
Shami got his due soon after when nightwatchman Malinda Pushpakumara edged one behind to Wriddhiman Saha. An over later, Shami trapped Kusal Mendis full and wide that came back in. Mendis was on the move trying to play the delivery to the legside, but failed to connect with that bat. He departed for 12.
Chandimal and Mathews had quite a few nervy moments against Ashwin and chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav but managed to survive the opening session. he duo started the second session well and Mathews even ventured out of the crease to Ashwin and plonked him for a six to bring up his team’s 100. Kuldeep and Ashwin though were bowling well and created chances with close in fielders. Kuldeep got the wicket of Chandimal when the Sri Lankan skipper was cramped for room and jabbed a length delivery on to his pads and the ball looped in to Cheteshwar Pujara at short leg. Chandimal departed for 36.
Two overs later, Mathews went down to sweep Ashwin and failed to connect. Umpire Richard Illingworth raised his finger and Mathews’ referral reaffirmed the on-field call. Mathews walked back after scoring 35.
Niroshan Dickwella was happy to sweep around and made most of the ample time he had to bat on en route to 41 off 52 deliveries. But wickets kept falling at the other end with Ashwin removing Dilruwan Perera for 8 and Shami accounted for Lakshan Sandakan (8) for this third wicket. Umesh Yadav finally got to Dickwella when he edged one to the slips. Ashwin wrapped up the match taking the last wicket of Lahiru Kumara.
Brief Scores : Sri Lanka 181 (Chandimal 36; Ashwin 4/68) & 135 (Chandimal 48; Kuldeep 4/40) trail India 487 (Dhawan 119, Pandya 108; Sandakan 5/132) by an innings and 171 runs