Sri Lanka vs India 1st Test Day 4: Ashwin, Jadeja lead India to record-breaking win

Jadeja finished with figures of 3-71 off 24.5 overs

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

India’s spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja took three wickets apiece to guide their side to a 304-run win over Sri Lanka on the fourth day of the first Test in Galle.

For India, this marked their biggest away win in Test history, easily surpassing their 279-run victory over England at Headingley back in 1986.

As for Sri Lanka, it was their largest defeat in terms of runs in Test cricket. The previous record was set in August 1994 when Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by 301 runs.

Starting off the day on 189/3, India captain Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane amassed an unbeaten 51-run partnership, during which Kohli brought up his hundred, before he decided to declare with his side on 240/3. As a result, Sri Lanka were set a target of 550 to win.

Kohli celebrates after scoring his 17th Test century

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Kohli scored 103 off 136 balls, which included five boundaries and a six, while Rahane made 23 off 18 deliveries, which included two boundaries.

Dilruwan Perera, Lahiru Kumara and debutant Danushka Gunathilaka picked up one wicket apiece.

Chasing 550 to win, Sri Lanka opener Upul Tharanga was clean bowled by Mohammed Shami for 10 runs, while Gunathilaka was removed by Umesh Yadav for just two runs.

Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis steadied the innings with a 79-run partnership, during which Karunaratne brought up his fifty, before Mendis was caught behind off the bowling of Jadeja for 36.

Karunaratne raises his bat after bringing up his 12th Test fifty

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Even though Jadeja removed Angelo Mathews shortly after, Karunaratne and wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella kept Sri Lanka afloat with a 101-run partnership, during which Dickwella surpassed his fifty.

Dickwella struck his fourth fifty in Test cricket

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

With Karunaratne and Dickwella frustrating India, the tourists finally got the breakthrough they wanted when Dickwella was caught behind off the bowling of Ashwin for 67, which came off 94 balls and included 10 boundaries.

Karunaratne went on to make 97 off 208 deliveries, which included nine boundaries, before he was clean bowled by Ashwin.

Once Karunaratne was out, Sri Lanka lost lost Nuwan Pradeep and Lahiru Kumara in quick succession. Since stand-in captain Rangana Herath and Asela Gunaratne could not bat, the hosts were bowled out for 245.

Herath didn’t bat since he was nursing a finger injury, while Gunaratne has been ruled out for the entire series after having his fractured left thumb surgically repaired.

Ashwin and Jadeja took three wickets apiece, while Shami and Yadav claimed one wicket each.

Herath was disappointed to have lost, and said: “The finger is getting better. There is nothing on the scan, and I am sure it will get better. It is a pretty good wicket, and the toss was not a factor. Credit to the India team, and we need improvement in all three departments. Asela’s loss is huge.”

Kohli was thrilled to have taken a 1-0 lead in the series, and said: “We lost a Test we should have won in 2015 here. This time it was a clinical performance two years down the line. Really happy with the way things went in this Test.

“The surface did not offer much, and that’s why the win is special. We have to work hard. It’s an example of the skill they possess, and persistent pressure always pays. That’s something we believe in. The opening competition is a happy headache. It felt nice that it came off nicely. Abhinav batted well and he deserved a hundred.”

India opener Shikhar Dhawan was named Man of the Match for his career-best knock of 190 in the first innings, and said: “I really enjoyed batting over here. I just watched the ball and backed my game. There is a very healthy competition from the opening spot in the side, and it keeps me on my toes.”

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