COLOMBO, Aug 8: Indian cricketers got much-needed match practice as they enjoyed an upperhand on all three days against Sri Lanka Board President’s XI in the tour opener that ended in a tame draw here today.
While the batsmen did not exactly set the stage on fire in the second innings getting all out for 180 but the bowlers kept the pressure, restricting hosts to 200 for six in 54 overs as they chased an unachievable victory target of 411 runs. Premier off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (3/38 in 8 overs) warmed up nicely for the Test series while Harbhajan Singh (1/26 in 8 overs) and Amit Mishra (1/42 in 12 overs) also got crucial overs under their belt.
Earlier, India started off from their overnight score of 112/3 but both the unbeaten batsmen KL Rahul (47 no) and Cheteshwar Pujara (31 no) retired to give the lower order a chance to get some decent hit. Ashwin (0) was bowled off the first ball he faced from Lahiru Gamage (1-20). Harbhajan (4) too lasted only three more overs edging one to slips off Nisala Tharaka (1-14).
Mishra (7) faced 29 balls in a bid to get in some practice after missing out in the first innings. At the other end, Bhuvneshwar Kumar made good on this opportunity given to him even as Mishra and Varun Aaron (2) were dismissed in quick succession. Kumar stroked five fours and scored 37 runs off 56 balls, helping India cross the 150-mark.
Kumar added 37 runs for the final wicket with Umesh Yadav (17*) before he was last man dismissed, falling to Milinda Siriwardana (1-5). Board President’s XI thus required 411 runs for an outright victory, but that was never the purpose of their second innings. Instead, it was about batting time for their Test team members and for the Indians, it was about sending down a few overs. Yadav (1-19) and Aaron (0-29) were handed the new ball and they didn’t disappoint.
India 1st innings: 351
Sri Lanka Board President’s XI 1st innings: 121
India 2nd innings (overnight 112 for 3): R Sharma lbw b Fernando 8, V Kohli c Pathirana b Rajitha 18, W Saha lbw b Fernando 1, C Pujara retired out 31, K Rahul retired out 47, R Ashwin b Gamage 0, Harbhajan Singh c Dickwella b Gamage 4, A Mishra lbw b Pathirana 7, B Kumar c Rajitha b Siriwardana 37, V Aaron b Rajitha 2, U Yadav not out 17. Extras: (B-1, W-5, NB-2) 8. Total: (all out; 58.4 overs) 180. Fall of wickets: 1-22, 2-27, 3-28, 4-112, 5-112, 6-112, 7-121, 8-140, 9-143. Bowling: V Fernando 5-0-17-2, L Gamage 11-1-20-1, K Rajitha 12-2-38-2, N Gamage 6-3-14-1, S Pathirana 16-1-60-1, S Jayasuriya 8-0-25-0, M Siriwardana 0.4-0-5-1.
Sri Lanka Board President’s XI 2nd innings: D de Silva c Rahul b Yadav 6, K Silva not out 83, L Thirimanne c Rahane b Harbhajan 18, U Tharanga c Pujara b Ashwin 52, M Siriwardana b Ashwin 4, K Perera b Ashwin 1, S Jayasuriya c R Sharma b Mishra 5, S Pathirana not out 25. Extras: (B-1, W-1, NB-4) 6. Total: (For 6 wkts; 54 overs) 200. Fall of wickets: 1-14, 2-59, 3-132, 4-136, 5-140, 6-154. Bowling: Yadav 7-1-19-1, Aaron 9-1-29-0, Harbhajan 8-1-26-1, Mishra 12-2-48-1, Ishant 6-0-33-0, Ashwin 8-0-38-3, Bhuvneshwar 4-2-6-0. – PTI