India sealed the first Test in their favour by 304 runs on day 4 as Virat Kohli’s 17th test century ensured Sri Lanka were set a target of 550 in the fourth innings. But the home side were bundled out for 245 as Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin ensured India took a 1-0 lead in the series.
Virat Kohli’s hundred sets Sri Lanka a colossal target
India started the fourth day with a commanding 498-run lead and skipper Virat Kohli unbeaten on his overnight score of 74. Given this scenario, it was very evident that India would only bat a few overs in the morning session until Kohli reached his century. And the Indian skipper showed his intent right away as he took on Dilruwan Perera and hit him for a big six over wide long on. Finally, with a pat down to long-on off Dilruwan Perera in the 52nd over of the Indian innings, Kohli brought up his 17th Test hundred and his 10th as Indian skipper. Soon after this, India declared their innings having set Sri Lanka a colossal target of 550 runs after Kohli and Rahane added 51 runs in six odd overs.
Jadeja’s takes over after Shami and Yadav set the ball rolling
With effectively two full days still left to play, Sri Lanka needed to get off to a good start if they were to have any chance of saving the match, let alone winning it. However, Mohammed Shami ensured that no such thing occurred as he castled Upul Tharanga in just the third over of Sri Lanka’s second innings. And Umesh Yadav got in on the act as Danushka Gunathilaka flicked one straight off his bowling to Cheteshwar Pujara at square leg, three overs later. After the initial damage, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja took over proceedings for India as they managed to get sufficient turn and bounce from the wicket. While this may come as a surprise given that the wicket was relatively dead for the first three days of the Test, the pitch at Galle has always assisted the spinners on the last two days of a Test match. For Sri Lanka on the other hand, Dimuth Karunaratne and Kushal Mendis showed fantastic application as they thwarted the Indian bowling and stitched together a much-needed partnership for the home side to take them to 85 for 2 at lunch. However, just after the break, Jadeja ensured a double whammy for the Lankans as he ended the 79-run partnership by sending Mendis packing for 36 in the 31st over and Angelo Mathews threw away his wicket four and a half overs later.
Sri Lanka crumble towards the end of the day
Once again Sri Lanka were in desperate in need of a partnership as they looked to save the match and Karunaratne found the perfect partner in Niroshan Dickwella as the duo put on a resilient stand to ensure that no further damage was inflicted on their side. While Dickwella took a few chances in the initial stages of his innings, he toned down his aggressive approach once he got his eye in. Together, the had duo managed to see off the remainder of the session as they put on 76 runs for the fifth wicket at tea on day 4. After the break, the duo managed to reach their hundred run stand but Ashwin had Dickwella caught behind for a well-made 67 in the 62nd over. And in a way, the end of this partnership broke Sri Lanka’s resistance in the game as Ashwin then cleaned up Karunarathne for 97. After this, it was only a matter of time before India sealed the first Test in their favour as Nuwan Pradeep and Lahiru Kumara both fell for nought as the Sri Lankan innings concluded at 245 as Rangana Herath and Asela Gunaratne did not come out to bat owing to their respective finger injuries.
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