After restricting India to 329/6 at the end of Day 1, Sri Lanka would have hoped to fight for a Test win. They got a break in the second over of Day 2 as they sent Wriddhiman Saha back. But since that brief moment of joy, they were simply blown away by a blazing innings by Hardik Pandya. He went on to make his maiden Test century and shattered a few records on the way as well, becoming the first Indian player to score a century before lunch. Pandya got his fifty in 61 balls and then unleashed a brutal onslaught, garnering his second fifty off just 25 balls while batting with tail. His ton lifted India's total to 487 at lunch on Day 2.
The feeble Sri Lankan batting was then exposed once again by India. The hosts threw in the towel almost immediately. Mohammed Shami removed both the Lankan openers inside five overs. The man who could do no wrong on the day, Pandya, then trapped Angelo Mathews for his second duck in his Test career, after a horrible mix up between Kusal Mendis and Dinesh Chandimal further dented Sri Lanka. Soon they were four wickets down before they could get 50 runs on the board.
The rest of the Sri Lankan batsmen followed suit, and the hosts were bowled out for 135. Kuldeep Yadav remained the wrecker-in-chief ripping through the Sri Lankan batting line up with the figures of 4/40. With a lead of 352, Kohli elected to enforce the follow-on. The misery for Lanka didn't end there. Opener Upul Tharanga's poor run in the series continued as Umesh Yadav sent him back for seven. He was dismissed twice in less than four hours.
Sri Lanka need 333 runs in their second innings to make India bat again. Overhauling the deficit seems difficult and a series whitewash hovers over the hosts. All Sri Lanka need to do now is not be the Sri Lanka of this series, if they intend to prolong the inevitable. Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis – the two men who can delay India and grind it out will resume on Day 3. The Islanders will require an extraordinary effort from not one but a couple of batsmen if they are to avoid an innings defeat.
The surface is still playing good, and if the hosts can apply themselves in the morning session and bat through, it will be a nothing short of a remarkable feat. Karunaratne is touted as a second innings specialist and has the numbers too. It is up to him and Mendis to cover for their brittle middle order. Chandimal did hold the fort for a while in the first innings but he will need some support if the home side is to push the visitors one last time.
Published Date: Aug 13, 2017 09:45 pm | Updated Date: Aug 13, 2017 09:59 pm