Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav help India push for series sweep against Sri Lanka
Young all-rounder Hardik Pandya smashed an 86-ball century to power India to 487 before Sri Lanka once again caved in meekly, dismissed for 135 to be staring at an innings defeat in Pallekele.Updated: Aug 13, 2017 18:43 IST
After an intense contest on the opening day, normalcy was restored in the one-way battle between India and Sri Lanka with the visitors completely dominating proceedings on the second day of the third Test at the Pallekele International Stadium on Sunday. (SL vs IND HIGHLIGHTS)
Sri Lanka’s bowling on the first day proved an aberration, as they were unable to maintain the intensity when challenged by the talent of young Hardik Pandya. It was a day when the Indian all-rounder could do no wrong, smashing his maiden Test hundred (108 off 96 balls) to lift India’s total to 487 and then taking a wicket with the third ball he bowled. (SL vs IND SCORECARD)
After the Pandya show, India were all over the Sri Lanka team, like vultures hovering over their helpless prey. Led by Kuldeep Yadav’s second four-wicket haul in as many Tests, the hosts were shot out for 135. Forced to follow-on, they were 19 for one. With India still 333 runs ahead, the visitors are firmly in line for a historic clean sweep in the three-Test series.
The story of the day, however, was Hardik Pandy’s batting. The 23-year-old Baroda player batted with the responsibility of a seasoned pro to absorb all the early pressure before wading into the attack when left to bat with the last man.
Pandya moved from fifty to hundred off just 25 balls with two fours and six sixes, reaching his hundred off 86 balls with seven fours and seven sixes.
Left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara bore the brunt of Pandya’s blade, taken apart for 26 runs in one over with two fours and three sixes - the most runs scored by an Indian batsman in one over in Tests, bettering Sandeep Patil and Kapil Dev, who both had 24 each.
Pandya got invaluable support from Kuldeep Yadav, the two sharing a 62-run partnership (117 balls) for the eighth wicket. Yadav made 26 runs (73 balls, 2 fours) before he was eighth out at the total of 401.
YADAV’S GOOD WORK
The hero of the India’s bowling effort was chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav, who finished with figures of 13-2-40-4 in his first away Test. It was a repeat performance for Yadav, who had claimed four wickets in his debut Test, against Australia at Dharamsala in March. Mohammed Shami and R Ashwin claimed two wickets each.
Captain Dinesh Chandimal was the only one to offer some resistance with 48 (87 balls), but he also got out in a tame fashion. The seventh Sri Lanka wicket to fall, Chandimal worked the ball into the hands of leg slip.
As if inspired by Pandya’s heroics, Mohammed Shami gave India a dream start. Fast and swinging the ball both ways, Shami troubled Sri Lanka’s left-handed opening pair of Dimuth Karunaratne and Upul Tharanga with away swingers. On the third ball of his second over, Shami had Tharanga playing a ball outside off-stump and the thin edge was well taken by wicket-keeper Saha. Two overs later, Karunaratne too was consumed with a similar delivery.
Their misery was complete when in-form batsman Kusal Mendis was run-out by a brilliant effort from R Ashwin. Four balls after the run out, the most experienced batsman in the side, Angelo Mathews was also walking back to the hut, after falling leg before wicket to Pandya.
The rout was complete when Niroshan Dickwella and Dilruwan Perera fell to reckless shots. And India had no hesitation in asking Sri Lanka to bat again, and go for the kill.
First Published: Aug 13, 2017 13:30 IST