Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin rattle Sri Lanka in Galle Test
Mohammed Shami picked up two wickets while Umesh Yadav and Ravichandran Ashwin Ravi took one apiece as Virat Kohli-led India ran through Sri Lanka’s batting after Cheteshwar Pujara’s 153 and Hardik Pandya’s half-century powered the visitors to 600.Updated: Jul 27, 2017 18:23 IST
Sri Lanka were left fighting a battle for survival in the opening Test against India at the Galle International Stadium.(India vs Sri Lanka Day 2 Highlights)
In each session over the last two days, the hosts have conceded massive ground. Facing a mammoth total of 600, they were struggling at 154 for five at the end of Day Two. Umesh Yadav gave Sri Lanka the early jolt, Mohammed Shami struck a double blow and Abhinav Mukund produced two fine fielding efforts at silly point to put Sri Lanka on the mat. (India vs Sri Lanka Day 2 Scorecard)
Sri Lanka need 401 runs to avoid follow-on, and going by their showing on Thursday, the hosts will need a miracle to reach the target. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong for Sri Lanka. They were clobbered for 399 runs on the opening day and then India’s lower order did the consolidation on Thursday.
When their turn came to bat, the hosts got off to a dreadful start, losing a wicket before they reached double digits. Their second-wicket pair was batting with confidence, but Danushka Gunathilaka fell to a rash shot. The final blow of the day came thanks to a brilliant piece of work at silly point by Abhinav Mukund, who caught Upul Tharanga short of his crease. The left-handed opener had hardly put a foot wrong but got into a tangle trying to play a Ravi Ashwin delivery. Mukund collected and threw the ball to the keeper in a flash, leaving Tharanga stranded.
Along with Angelo Mathews, Tharanga had looked at ease. He was attacking the new-ball bowlers and, even when wickets fell around him, he remained composed.
Earlier, after India posted a mountain of runs, their fast bowler Umesh Yadav gave them a flying start by striking in his very first over.
The Sri Lankan openers safely negotiated Mohammed Shami’s first over, but taking the new ball from the other end, Yadav struck off his fifth ball. Dimuth Karunaratane was caught plumb in front with a well-pitched up, swinging delivery. The 29-year-old Test specialist went for a review, hoping the ball would have pitched outside leg, but he erred in his judgment and Sri Lanka ended up losing their review.
Earlier in the morning, Cheteshwar Pujara’s marathon effort ended on 153 (265 balls) --- his sixth 150-plus score in 12 hundreds --- with the Sri Lankan bowlers coming up with an improved performance. India’s lower order built on the platform with Hardik Pandya starting his Test career with a half century (50 off 49 balls), and R Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha stitching together a 59-run partnership, to dash Sri Lanka’s hopes of restricting India to a reasonable total.
To add to the Lankan bowlers’ woes, Pandya and Shami used the long handle to good effect to add 62 runs off 51 balls.
Batting at No 8, Pandya started his Test career with a four off the third ball he faced. For some time, the Sri Lankans tested him with tight bowling but after the eighth wicket fell, Pandya started to go for his shots, displaying the power-hitting which has brought him success in T20 cricket.