India take charge

Published : 8:40 am  July 28, 2017 | No comments so far |  | 


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By Shehan Daniel reporting from Galle

Sri Lanka could do little to thwart a clinical Indian bowling performance losing five wickets for 154 runs by stumps on day two of the First Test which continued at the Galle International Stadium yesterday. This was after India had piled up a massive 600 runs in their first innings.  

Fast-bowler Nuwan Pradeep’s maiden five-wicket haul in international cricket (six for 132) had helped end India’s innings shortly before tea. But Sri Lanka’s batsmen failed to show the command their opponents had with the bat and find themselves facing the reality of a follow-on when play continues today (28). Pradeep became the first Sri Lankan fast-bowler to take five wickets in an innings in Sri Lanka since Lasith Malinga returned figures of five for 50 against the same opponents at this same venue in 2010. 


Angelo Mathews in action

In their reply, Sri Lanka lost a wicket and a review as early as the second over when Dimuth Karunaratne was beaten by Umesh Yadav’s pace and was given out leg before wicket.The review, which Karunaratne took after consulting his partner Upul Tharanga seemed a waste one even to the naked eye and replays only proved as much with Hawkeye showing that the ball was destined for the middle of the middle stump. 

Debutant Danushka Gunathilaka hit two boundaries before his attempts for a third saw him flash at a ball outside off-stump with Shikhar Dhawan taking a comfortable catch at first slip while ending a 61-run partnership with Tharanga. Kusal Mendis was dismissed in that same Mohammed Shami over holding his bat out and sending another catch to Dhawan as Sri Lanka were reduced to 68 for three. 

Tharanga had made a positive start to his innings, getting a half-century in 43 balls with his 10th boundary but took a more subdued approach as Ravichandran Ashwin began to extract turn, facing 49 balls to score his next 14 runs.Tharanga was then beaten by the quickness of silly point fielder Abhinav Mukund as he was run out with his bat bounding off the ground. 

It also ended the opener’s 57-run partnership with Angelo Mathews. Mukund produced another exceptional piece of skill in the same position, to snare Niroshan Dickwella’s block before it touched the ground. Angelo Mathews survived a review thanks to the Umpire’s original decision. The Hawkeye showed the ball would not hit enough of the wicket for the decision to be overturned. Mathews showed some aggression hitting eight boundaries and a six on the way to his half-century. 


Nuwan Pradeep-  Captures 6 for 132 

Earlier, Cheteshwar Pujara reached the first milestone of the day when he got past 150 in the sixth over of play.  Sri Lanka also broke the 137-run partnership between Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane.  Four overs later Rahane was also caught behind when he reached out to drive Lahiru Kumara’s first ball of the day. A 59-run partnership between Ravichandran Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha quelled Sri Lanka’s momentum before Herath took his first wicket of the Test to dismiss the Indian wicket-keeper.  

Pradeep then completed his five-wicket haul in the next over when Ashwin’s attempted pull sent another edge to Dickwella with India reaching lunch at 503 for seven. Hardik Pandya, dropped on four in the second over after the break by Karunaratne, put on a 62-run partnership with Mohammed Shami which came in just 51 balls before he was the last man out, not long after reaching his fifty on his debut.  He scored at more than a run a ball with five boundaries and three sixes before picking out substitute fielder Dhananjaya de Silva at deep square leg.