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Sri Lanka continue their losing habit in style

Ashwin spins India to commanding win

Off-spinner becomes fastest to 300 Test wickets as Sri Lanka crashes to its heaviest defeat, by an innings and 239 runs.

R Ashwin

R Ashwin became the fastest to 300 Test wickets as India trounced Sri Lanka by an innings and 239 runs in the second Test at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur on Monday (November 27) to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Ashwin raced to the landmark in his 54th Test, going past Dennis Lillee's previous record of 56 matches. The off-spinner ended with four wickets, which also took him past 50 wickets in the year, while Umesh Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja and Ishant Sharma had two wickets each.

The combined bowling effort meant Sri Lanka was bowled out in a little over a session on the fourth day for just 166 in 49.3 overs. It was India's joint biggest win in Test cricket, while Sri Lanka slipped to its heaviest defeat in the longest format.

There was some turn on offer but nothing alarming off the pitch. The sheer volume of runs and the scoreboard pressure, India's accuracy, and some terrible shots brought about Sri Lanka's downfall. Only Dinesh Chandimal, the skipper, showed some hint of a fight, scoring 61. 

Sri Lanka started the day with a mountain to climb - 21 for 1 after conceding a 405-run lead - but the trek didn't start too well. Dimuth Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne saw off short spells from Ashwin and Ishant but the moment Jadeja arrived, the tide turned. Karunaratne flicked the left-arm spinner's second ball and found M Vijay somehow holding on to a sharp chance at short-leg.

Ishant Sharma impressed with his pace and accuracy on his Test comeback.
Ishant Sharma impressed with his pace and accuracy on his Test comeback.

While that dismissal was more bad fortune than anything else for the batsman, the next had nothing to do with chance. Thirimanne went after a wide ball from Umesh and scooped a simple catch to Jadeja, who didn't have to move an inch at point.

More catching practice awaited the Indians when Angelo Mathews played a nothing shot, chipping Jadeja straight to mid-off soon after. Mathews had earlier taken the attack to Jadeja successfully by hitting him for a straight six but this shot had neither power nor conviction.

Things could have been worse had KL Rahul hit direct with Chandimal well short on an ill-judged quick single.

But India didn't have to wait too long for its next wicket. Ishant, in his second spell of the day, bowled a brute that kicked up from around the stumps to take Niroshan Dickwella's edge to second slip. At 75 for 5, the writing was clearly on the wall.

With an early finish looming, Dasun Shanaka sensed the opportunity to have some fun. He took on Ashwin and smashed him for two sixes and a four through the on-side in an over, but the off-spinner was always going to win the duel. In his next over, he tossed one up generously, resulting in Shanaka miscuing another lofted shot high to mid-on.

That wicket left Ashwin with three to get for the 300-mark and he moved closer soon when he had Dilruwan Perera and Rangana Herath in the space of three balls. The former was trapped leg before, unsuccessfully reviewing the decision, while Herath lobbed a simple catch to slip. 

It extended the session by 15 minutes, which only delayed the inevitable. Chandimal whipped Umesh to fine-leg soon after resumption, giving the bowler his 99th Test wicket. Ashwin then raced to his landmark, bowling Lahiru Gamage with a carrom ball which also ended the match.

Posted on 2017-11-29 00:39:57
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QUESTION?

Should Dilshan have continued until Cricket World Cup 2019?

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THE DAY'S QUOTE

“That was pathetic. No excuse at all. The whole team is responsible. Whoever the captain is, we have to back him and try and support him. The captain has to do so many other stuff. All the 11 guys must back him and support him.” “We have addressed the issue of finishing off the overs on time in the past as well, but it cropped up again. It’s so unfortunate to see Upul going out as he is a crucial player in our set up. He batted well against South Africa and it’s so unfortunate. This can’t happen again,” - Angelo Mathews

FEEDBACK/COMMENTS

Cricket is a game of fine margins and Mathews is set to be a modern great. Hang in their Angie, this team can achieve something on this tour. Thirimane and the youngsters form was a real positive. Prasad was missed. Chameera should be persisted with. If Bairstow was our early outcome could have been very different.

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