After piling on a humongous 622/9 in the first innings of the second Test in Colombo, Ravichandran Ashwin took advantage of the sharp turn off the surface to reduce Sri Lanka to 50/2 in their first innings. For India, the lower-middle order contributed well with the bat to take the team to 622/9.
Sri Lanka’s gamble of playing only one seamer backfires
Sri Lanka’s strategy of playing only one pacer in the form of Nuwan Pradeep came under the scanner from the outset given his knack of getting injured far too often. On the opening day of the second Test, Sri Lanka had done well to restrict India to 133 for 3, but they lacked a proper paceman to contain the duo of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. While Dinesh Chandimal once again looked to the hero of the first Test, Pradeep, he sustained an injury to his left hamstring after bowling just nine overs. With his only seamer not on the field, Chandimal then had to throw the ball to his spinners to bowl with the new ball, which helped the Indian batsmen extend the score to 344 for 3 on the first day. And it continued to hurt them on the second day too as Pradeep was ruled out of bowling for the remainder of India's first innings. With Angelo Mathews not fit to bowl, the hosts will now have to rely heavily on the part-time option of Dimuth Karunaratne for the remainder of the Test. Though the wicket is tailor made for spinners, having a pacer around to extract the benefit of the morning session is always a good thing in a Test match.
Indian lower middle-order comes to the fore, yet again
There has been much talk about the Indian top order - Cheteshwar Pujara’s resilience, Virat Kohli’s calculated aggression, and Ajinkya Rahane’s purposeful drives square off the wicket. But something that has missed the collective eye of many has been the way Indian lower middle order has contributed to the team’s total in the recent past. And today was another such day where they proved why India is the No.1 Test team
Colombo shows signs of heavy turn from the second day
In what was a deviation from the norm, Sri Lanka prepared a batting-friendly wicket for the first Test in Galle, and that backfired heavily against them. Keeping in mind that they made a spinner-friendly wicket for the second Test and quite fittingly, stacked the team with an additional spinner. Left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara made his debut partnering Rangana Herath and offspinner Dilruwan Perera. But, now their own strength might come back to hurt them as Ashwin and Jadeja have already started taking advantage of the turn. Remember, Sri Lanka have a summit to climb and they wil alsol bat the fourth innings of the match when batting will be way more difficult than it is now. But for the Indian management, it will not be a big headache as they have already stacked up a colossal 622 runs in the first innings and will only hope that will be enough to take an unassailable lead in the series.