GALLE, July 29: A vastly superior India today outclassed an injury-ravaged and out-of-sorts Sri Lanka by 304 runs in the opening Test to bury the ghosts of a humilating loss at the same venue, exactly two years ago.
India players greet each other after winning the first Test against Sri Lanka at Galle, on Saturday.
India lead the three-match series 1-0.
This was India’s biggest overseas win (in terms of runs) surpassing 279 run-victory against England at Leeds in 1986.
For Sri Lanka, it was their biggest defeat (in terms of runs), surpassing their 301-run loss against Pakistan in 1994.
A gigantic victory target of 550 was out of question for the hosts but they fizzled out in the final session of the fourth day to finish on 245 in 76.5 overs – their innings terminated with injured skipper Rangana Herath and Asela Gunaratne ruled out.
This was after India captain Virat Kohli struck his 17th Test hundred with India declaring their second innings at 240 for three.
The Sri Lankans, especially their opener Dimuth Karunaratne (97) batted gutsily for the first two sessions reaching 192 for 4 at tea.
However Ravichandran Ashwin (3/65 in 27 overs) ran through the middle-order. Once Karunaratne was dismissed trying to play paddle sweep, it was all over for the islanders.
After the tea break, India made short work of proceedings. The breakthrough was achieved in the fifth over after the break. Niroshan Dickwella (67) top-edged off Ashwin with Wriddhiman Saha collecting an easy catch.
Dilruwan Perera (21 no) added 23 runs for the sixth wicket with Karunaratne. The Lankan resistance ended for all- purpose when the latter was bowled off Ashwin, dragging a sweep back onto his stumps. Overall, he faced 208 balls and hit 9 fours.
Two balls later, Virat Kohli took a great catch at leg slip and accounted for Nuwan Pradeep (0) as well. The end came swiftly when Lahiru Kumara (0) skied off Ravindra Jadeja (3/71).
Herath and Gunaratne were unable to bat owing to on-field injuries. Umesh Yadav (1/42) and Mohammed Shami (1/43) took a wicket apiece at the start of the innings.
In post-lunch, Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis (36) continued their partnership for the third wicket. The two batsmen looked to play for time and cut out any aggressive strokes. They did capitalise on run-scoring opportunities, as this atypical Galle pitch didn’t provide much support to the Indian spinners. In all, they put on 79 runs.
Karunaratne scored his 12th Test half-century off 81 balls. Overall, he faced 166 deliveries and hit 9 fours. In doing so, he brought up Sri Lanka’s 100 in the 27th over. In that same over, Mendis survived a DRS review off Ashwin for caught behind as Ultra-Edge didn’t show any deviation.
Four overs later, Mendis was caught behind off Jadeja as the DRS review was turned in India’s favour, this time an edge clearly detected off the batsman. It became a double blow for Lanka thereafter as Angelo Mathews (2) was caught going for a wild slog at backward point off Jadeja again.
India 1st Innings: 600
Sri Lanka 1st Innings: 291
India 2nd Innings: (overnight 189/3 in 46.3 overs): S Dhawan c Gunathilaka b Dilruwan Perera 14, A Mukund lbw Gunathilaka 81, C Pujara c Mendis b Kumara 15, V Kohli not out 103, A Rahane not out 23. Extras: 4 (b-0, lb-1, w-2, nb-1). Total: (For 3 wkts declared, 53 Overs) 240. Fall of wickets: 1-19, 2-56, 3-189. Bowling: Pradeep 12-2-63-0, Perera 15-0-67-1, Kumara 12- 1-59-1, Herath 9-0-34-0, Gunathilaka 5-0-16-1.
Sri Lanka 2nd innings: Dimuth Karunaratne b Ashwin 97, Upul Tharanga b Shami 10, Danushka Gunathilaka c Pujara b Umesh 2, Kusal Mendis c Saha b Jadeja 36, Angelo Mathews c Hardik Pandya b Jadeja 2, Niroshan Dickwella c Saha b Ashwin 67, Dilruwan Perera not out 21, Nuwan Pradeep c Kohli b Ashwin 0 Lahiru Kumara c Mohammed Shami b Jadeja 0, Rangana Herath abs hurt 0, Das Gunaratne abs hurt 0. Extras: (LB-3, W-7) 10. Total: (All out in 76.5 Overs) 245. Fall of wickets: 22-1, 29-2, 108-3, 116-4, 217-5, 240-6, 240-7, 245-8. Bowling: Mohammed Shami 9-0-43-1, Umesh Yadav 9-0-42-1, Ravindra Jadeja 24.5-4-71-3, Ravichandran Ashwin 27-4-65-3, Hardik Pandya 7-0-21-0. – PTI