Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar shine as Sri Lanka escape in Kolkata
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Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar shine as Sri Lanka escape in Kolkata

Virat Kohli and Bhuvneshwar Kumar performed brilliantly on Day 5 as India missed out on a sensational win over Sri Lanka in their first Test encounter in Kolkata on Monday.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Nov 20, 2017 19:20 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
India vs Sri Lanka,Virat Kohli,Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Indian cricket team players (R) and Sri Lanka cricketers at the end of their first Test encounter in Kolkata on Monday.(AP)

India came within three wickets of a win at Eden Gardens here on Monday as the first Test against Sri Lanka ended with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami steaming in to a slip quintet. (HIGHLIGHTS)

When play was called off at 4:30pm, 18 minutes before scheduled close and 5.3 overs before the mandatory 15 overs, Sri Lanka, set 231 to win after India declared on 352/8, were 75/7. (SCORECARD)

Man of the Match Kumar finished with 4/8 in 11 overs with a display that showed that there was more to him than just being a ‘sultan of swing’. His match figures were 8/96 on a pitch where the bounce stayed true.

This was after Kohli reached his 18th Test hundred and 50th in international cricket, lofting Suranga Lakmal to stay unbeaten on 104 (119b, 12x4, 2x6). It was his 11th ton as skipper, the most by an Indian along with Sunil Gavaskar, and India declared, trying to push for a win.

Brightening such hopes were Kumar and Shami getting Sadeera Samarawickrama and Dimuth Karunaratne, both showing the lack of footwork that is anathema to top-order batting. When first-innings heroes Lahiru Thirimanne and Angelo Mathews went, it was Sri Lanka who were fighting to save this Test hours after getting India to nearly do that.

Thirimanne too played away from his body to Kumar and Ajinkya Rahane took a sharp catch at third slip. Mathews was trapped by Umesh Yadav. Dinesh Chandimal got a ripper from Shami that swung in and uprooted his middle-stump but Sri Lanka survived some aggressive bowling and verbal volleys from India.

To Kohli goes the credit of turning the tables. Accelerating after lunch, which he took on 41, Kohli reached his century in 93 minutes making the most of the new ball.

En route, he successfully reviewed a leg-before shout, off Lakmal. The delivery was similar to the one that got him in the first innings --- that too was reviewed --- but this time Kohli had got a touch. He was on 72.

Kohli celebrated that with a straight-driven four and then smote Dasun Shanaka for four more in the next over. He hit Shanaka through the midwicket region even when the bowler had pitched on the off-side. It took him to 86. From there to his century, there were two sixes over cover, both off Lakmal.

READ | Virat Kohli slams unique ton, puts India in driver’s seat in Kolkata Test vs Sri Lanka

Things had looked different in the morning when Lakmal got KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. During a spell that read 9-2-21-3, Lakmal bowled closer to the off-stump and showed that he could move it both ways. With one that careened in, he cleaned up Rahul’s middle-stump and in a span of four balls, got Pujara and Rahane.

If the bounce surprised Pujara --- Dilruwan Perera completed the catch, a worthy effort to a delivery that deserved nothing less -- it was the sharp inward movement that got Rahane. Lakmal finished with match figures of 7/118.

From 213/2, India were 213/4 but Kohli wasn’t fazed. Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha and Bhuvneshwar Kumar fell to poor shots and Ravichandran Ashwin completed a forgettable outing with one that got through his defence but for now, Kohli’s knock papered over batting inadequacies.

First Published: Nov 20, 2017 17:33 IST