Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin sliced through Sri Lanka’s batting line-up with five wickets to not only lead his side to a 278-run win in the second Test in Colombo, but also help them level the series at 1-1.
While Ashwin and India celebrated their impressive victory, it was a heart-breaking end to Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sanagkkara’s illustrious international career.
Starting out the day on 72/2, none of Sri Lanka’s batsmen, with the exception of opener Dimuth Karunaratne, had an impact with the bat.
Karunaratne scored 46 off 103 balls, which included six boundaries, while captain Angelo Mathews was the only other batsman to surpass the 20-run mark as he made 23.
With that being said, Sri Lanka, who were chasing 413 to win, ended up coming nowhere close to their target as they were skittled out for 134 in just 43.4 overs.
Ashwin was easily the pick of the bowlers with his five wickets, while Amit Mishra snapped up three and Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav claimed one wicket each.
Mathews was disappointed to have lost the match, and said: “Pretty disappointed with the way things went. We didn’t play our best cricket. More disappointed we didn’t win it for Sanga. We promised him we would play our best cricket, but we didn’t. The best days for batting were second and third, and we clearly didn’t capitalise. After they took the lead, they batted really well and put us under a lot of pressure. The wicket was quite demanding, but we could have put on a better show on the last day. Having said that, India, especially Ashwin, bowled really well. On behalf of the team, we can’t thank Sanga enough for his services over the last 15 years.”
India skipper Virat Kohli was thrilled to have levelled the series, and said: “Came close twice before. Once in Adelaide, once in Galle. We played really good cricket in both those Tests; if we had done it for one more session… Commendable effort to regroup so soon and putting up this show. As Rahul mentioned, he takes up the gloves because Saha is injured, and he takes a blinder first ball. That is an example of how everybody chipped in. Everyone apart from Stuart bowled today.
“As I said, once we took those early wickets, we wanted to bowl attacking lines and didn’t want to lose time. In the first innings you have to applaud Stuart because on that pitch he bowled great control to keep my other bowlers fresh. And I just want to congratulate Kumar again on a wonderful career. I have spoken a lot about him, everyone has, in the last week, but I can’t help saying it again that it has been an absolute pleasure playing with you.”
India batsman Lokesh Rahul edged out Ashwin for the Man of the Match award, and said: “I was a wicketkeeper till under-19. Then on I didn’t get chance to keep. I enjoy it. Pretty happy I took a good catch first ball. Pretty pleasing as a youngster to get two hundreds in four matches. A lot to learn. I go more confident into the next Test. Just a very happy feeling firstly to get called up to play for the national team, and then to score two hundreds in four games.”