India thumped Sri Lanka by an innings and 171 runs to complete a 3-0 series whitewash, their first away from home in a series comprising of three or more matches. Shikhar Dhawan and Hardik Pandya shone with the bat, before Kuldeep Yadav impressed in his first match in the series with four wickets in the first innings as the hosts were bowled out for 135. Virat Kohli enforced the follow-on, but the Lions crumbled yet again, with Ravichandran Ashwin grabbing four wickets as India dismissed the opposition for 181.
While another Test match turned into a one-sided contest, there were some key moments that shaped the outcome of the match. Take a look at the key turning points in the match:
KL Rahul dropped
India got off to a perfect start with Dhawan and Rahul batting freely. The duo stitched a 186-run partnership which laid the foundation of India's first innings total of 487. Sri Lanka have been pretty lax on the field in the series and were guilty of giving away easy runs. Rahul earned a reprieve in the 11th over, getting dropped when he was on 2. Rahul played a wild shot and the ball went off the bottom of the bat to mid-on, where Lahiru Kumara made a mess of the chance. The Karnataka batsman capitalised on the error and went on to score 85 runs in the first innings.
Sri Lanka letting the advantage slip on Day 2
Sri Lanka had done well to restrict India to 329 for 6 at the end of the first day. The hosts struck in regular intervals after the dismissals of Rahul and Dhawan, and were looking very good. Sri Lanka had taken the new ball late on Day 1, with Wriddhiman Saha and Hardik Pandya on the crease for India, and it looked as if the visitors would struggle to cross 400 after Saha fell in the second over on Day 2. However, Sri Lanka failed to get the last three wickets quickly as Kuldeep and Pandya played out the first few overs to unsettle the hosts, before Hardik let himself loose with what can be described as one of the most breathtaking Test innings in recent memory.
Hardik Pandya's whirlwind ton
When the Indian squad for the tour of Sri Lanka was announced, many people were surprised to see the inclusion of Pandya. While the all-rounder has been deadly in the shorter formats of the game, he was still an untested commodity in Test cricket. But the 23-year-old justified his inclusion with a fifty in the first Test at Galle. He followed it up with a ruthless 100 in this Test. With Shami and Umesh to give him company, the all-rounder realised the need to score some quick runs and smashed eight 4s and seven 6s to catapult India to an imposing total of 487.
Mendis' freak run out
Kusal Mendis was the pick of the Sri Lankan batsmen throughout the series. In the second innings of the second Test, the right-handed batsman scored a defiant 110 and was part of a 191 run-partnership as Sri Lanka looked combative for the first time in the match. He looked good when he came on to the crease in the first innings of the third Test and got off to a good start, smacking four boundaries off the Indiam seamers. However, miscommunication and some questionable running between the wickets saw Mendis get run-out. Had Mendis stayed on, Sri Lanka might have probably got to a good total and would've taken the match to India.
Kuldeep Yadav's spell in the first innings
Kohli brought Kuldeep in the 13th over of Sri Lanka's first innings with captain Dinesh Chandimal and Niroshan Dickwella fairly new to the crease. The Chinaman bowler gave away easy boundaries, but came back strongly to take the wickets of Dickwella, Dilruwan Perrera, Lakshan Sandakan and Vishwa Fernando as the hosts were dismissed for a paltry 135 allowing Kohli to enforce the follow-on.