Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 86/6 (Mathews 43, Bumrah 3-15, Shami 2-18) trail India 252 (S Iyer 92, Pant 39, Jayawickrama 3-81, Embuldeniya 3-94) by 166 runs at Stumps on Day 1
Hosts India, after a cakewalk in the Mohali Test where they ticked all the boxes - Virat Kohli’s 100th Test, Rohit Sharma’s Test captaincy debut, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin registering their names in the record books, took the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday to seal the series against the wounded Sri Lanka who stand way behind a strong home side.
Also, it would be a full house at Chinnaswamy throughout the course of the Test match.
The pitch at Chinnaswamy on Day 1
The 22-yard looked dry and with the sun beating down, the spinners would enjoy the conditions. The pace and bounce of the Bengaluru track would make it tough for the batters but they surely have to apply themselves well against spin.
India opted to bat; Axar Patel returned to the side
India captain Rohit Sharma, in his 400th international game, won the toss and elected to bat first. While the hosts welcomed Axar Patel, the match-winner for India in their last pink ball Test; Sri Lanka replaced injured Lahiru Kumara and Pathum Nissanka with Praveen Jayawickrama and Kusal Mendis.
Suranga Lakmal would also say goodbye to the international game after this game.
Sri Lanka spin a web; tie India to 93/4 at Tea
Both openers - Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal - opened their books with respective boundaries but there was a comedy of errors of sorts; Agarwal had to go back to the hut for 4 on his home ground. Struck on the pad, he just strolled for a single while his partner had no interest in it and to make it more devastating, the ball turned out to be a front foot no ball.
After a brief partnership with Hanuma Vihari, skipper Rohit Sharma too got dismissed when Lasith Embuldeniya found the edge of his bat on 15. The whole Bengaluru crowd, with full cheer and enthusiasm, greeted their adopted home boy Virat Kohli to the crease, who with Vihari looked to settle India with some glorious shots along with strike rotation.
The hosts lost Vihari after a strong hand of 31 when Jayawickrama drew a faint edge from the batter. Soon, Kohli who looked stable on 23, in an attempt to guide the ball towards the mid-wicket region was trapped before the stumps to a Dhananjaya de Silva ball that spun too much and kept low. In between that, Rishabh Pant played some high-risk aggressive shots as India went to tea on 93/4.
It was the second time since 2009 in Ahmedabad against Sri Lanka that India had lost four wickets within the opening session on Day 1. The viable bounce and the sharp turn on the track on the first session were really concerning for the batters of both camps.
Shreyas Iyer’s breezy 92 powers India to 252 before Sri Lanka made regular inroads
Pant began the second session in a buoyant mood, smashing boundaries with ease, as India secured 33 runs from just 15 balls before losing the wicketkeeper batter who in an aim to cut the ball that was pitched up saw his stumps broken. Suddenly, Shreyas Iyer too decided to go wild going for boundaries regularly before India lost their last match hero, Ravindra Jadeja for just 4 to a ball that bounced more than expected.
Ravichandran Ashwin, after a tiny contribution, perished to a thick edge when he wanted to cut de Silva. But, on the other hand, Shreyas Iyer, who was delivering a masterclass on how to play spin, registered his half-century in just 54 balls. He continued the carnage as Sri Lanka’s wayward bowling was reaching the Chinnaswamy stands.
Axar Patel chopped on to his stumps as Iyer was running out of partners. India lost their penultimate wicket when Mohammed Shami too was undone by the irregular bounce of the 22-yard. Iyer since then decided to go in the route of ‘now or never’ crashing the ball all around the park. But he had to leave the ground to a loud ovation on 92 before what could have been an iconic hundred as India finished on a healthy 252 on a huge turner.
Fiery Indian bowlers went all guns blazing to blow away Sri Lanka’s top order at 86-6; visitors still 166 runs behind
India’s fast bowlers kicked off the bowling with the pink ball under the lights with a blast as vice-captain of the side, Jasprit Bumrah drew the edge of opener Kusal Mendis on 2 before dismissing Lahiru Thirimanne at slips on 8. No sooner had the visitors recovered from the blows, Mohammed Shami rattled the stumps of opposition captain Dimuth Karunaratne to break Sri Lanka’s back.
Veteran Angelo Mathews partnered with Dhananjaya de Silva and curbed the fall of wickets for a few overs but was asked too many questions by India’s pacers. Finally, Shami trapped the later before the stumps on 10 thanks to Rohit who took an excellent review.
Charith Asalanka’s stay at the crease didn’t last long; knowing his weakness of defence, Asalanka used his feet to smack Axar Patel over long on but could find only Ashwin who grasped a decent running catch as Sri Lanka lost half of their side on just 50. Nonetheless, the only visiting batter who looked set on this track was Angelo Mathews who used his feet and stayed on the leg side of the ball trusting mostly his backfoot.
But just at the stroke of stumps, Mathews after doing all the hard work just nibbled Bumrah to second slip to leave Sri Lanka in disarray. They finished the day on 86-6 with still a big hurdle to cross.
What lies ahead on Day 2
The pitch is seaming, turning, bouncing and doing all sorts of things but Mathews’ stay proved that right application from the batters still can collect some runs there. With still being 166 runs behind and just 4 wickets left in the tank, Sri Lanka will try to touch India as close as they can while the hosts will try to stretch their lead to go beyond the visitor’s boundary.
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