Ravindra Jadeja spins India to innings-win over Sri Lanka in Colombo Test
Ravindra Jadeja picked up a five-wicket haul to help India wrap up the series by completing an innings and 53-run win over Sri Lanka on the fourth afternoon of the second Test at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground in Colombo on Sunday. (LIVE BLOG)
The demolition came in the midst of a dream run for India which started at this venue two years ago, August 2015, when they nailed Sri Lanka 2-1 in a hard-fought contest. Since then, they have vanquished every opponent, beating South Africa, West Indies, New Zealand, England, Bangladesh and Australia, with this being their eighth successive series win. (LIVE SCORECARD)
Following-on after conceding a 439-run lead, Sri Lanka were all out for 386 runs. Before the bowlers took over, India’s fourth-wicket pair of Cheteshwar Pujara (133 runs) and Ajinkya Rahane (132) and strong contributions from the lower-order had taken the game beyond the home team by amassing 622 for nine declared after Virat Kohli had won a crucial toss and elected to bat.
Having clinched the first two Tests of the series, the third Test at Kandy has been reduced to a dead rubber.
After crashing to a 304-run defeat in the first Test and being shot out for just 183 in the first essay, Sri Lanka finally showed some fight in the second innings, fighting displays by opener Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis stretching the game to the second session of the fourth day. The opening batsman scored a dogged 141, and Kusal Mendis hit a counter-attacking 110. But, it will be of little consolation for the hosts, reduced to whipping boys by their dominant neighbours.
After struggling against the off-spin of R Ashwin in the first essay, the Sri Lankan batsmen found the going tough against the left-arm spin of Jadeja on Sunday. Jadeja came to the fore when Dimuth Karunaratne and Angelo Mathews looked good to take the fight to the visitors. He first had the left-handed opening batsman at the score of 141, who had no chance on the ball which exploded off the spot.
One of the most experienced batsmen in the Sri Lanka ranks, Karunaratne’s wicket was crucial for Sri Lanka’s chances to save the second Test.
Next over Jadeja had Mathews caught behind and followed it with the scalp of Dilruwan Perea for his fourth wicket of the innings to reduce the hosts to 327 for seven. Ajinkya Rahane pulled of a low catch in front of him off Dhananjaya de Silva to help Jadeja complete the fifer.
Earlier, in the morning, Jadeja had prized out captain Dinesh Chandimal for just two runs. Jadeja would have ended Sri Lanka’s resistance much earlier but KL Rahul spilled a straight forward chance offered by Karunaratne when he added just three runs to his overnight score of 92.
At the lunch break, there would have been some doubts in the Indian dressing room when Sri Lanka were just 137 runs short of making India bat again, and another good session would have had Virat Kohli’s team ruing the decision to enforce the follow-on.
But, the self-belief in this team is strong enough to tide over any situation, and once they got the breakthrough, it was over in a jiffy. It has been an all-round team effort and most satisfied will be new chief coach Ravi Shastri, for whom it is the first assignment of his new innings with the Indian team.