Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Ravindra Jadeja wreaked havoc with the ball on the fourth day of the second Test in Colombo as his five-wicket haul led to India claiming an innings and 53-run win over Sri Lanka.
What made the victory even more special for India was the fact that it was their first innings win in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, it gave them an unassailable 2-0 series lead going into the third Test, which begins on August 12 in Pallekele.
Starting off the day on 209/2, Sri Lanka lost debutant Malinda Pushpakumar early on as he was clean bowled by Ravichandran Ashwin for 16.
The very next over, Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal was on his way back to the pavilion as he was caught by Ajinkya Rahane at first slip off the bowling of Ravindra Jadeja for two runs.
Dimuth Karunaratne and Angelo Mathews stabilised the innings with a 69-run partnership before Karunaratne was dismissed by an absolutely outstanding delivery from Jadeja for 141, which came off 307 balls and included 16 boundaries.
Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Jadeja struck again in his next over as he had Mathews caught behind for 36.
Things went from bad to worse for Sri Lanka as Dilruwan Perera was stumped by Wriddhiman Saha off the bowling of Jadeja for four runs.
Dhananjaya de Silva fell shortly after for 17, while Niroshan Dickwella tried to take the fight to India, but was eventually dismissed by Hardik Pandya for 31.
Sri Lanka were ultimately bowled out for 386 when Nuwan Pradeep was caught by Shikhar Dhawan at mid-on off the bowling of Ashwin for one run.
Jadeja was the pick of the bowlers with five wickets, while Pandya and Ashwin snapped up two wickets apiece. Umesh Yadav, meanwhile, chipped in with one.
Chandimal was gutted to have lost, and said: “To be honest, you can’t control the toss. We were outplayed with bat and the ball in the first innings. But I was happy with the way we played in the second innings. We just want to take positives from this game.
“Kusal and Dimuth played some really good cricket. You can tell now (in hindsight, could you have played another seamer?). Unfortunately, Angelo can’t bowl at the moment. Asela is the one who consistently performs, yes it’s a loss. Looking forward to the next game.”
India captain Virat Kohli was pleased to have wrapped up the series, and said: “The way the wicket behaved and how it was getting worse by the day and the lead of more than 440 prompted us to enforce the follow-on. I haven’t been a big fan of enforcing it, though. At international level, you expect teams to come and play like that (on Mendis’ and Dimuth’s innings). They batted really well. You need to have those tough times to improve as cricketers. If you enjoy the hard moments, you enjoy the good moments as well.
“Never get complacent as a side – that’s important. Four byes on that sort of pitch speaks of his (Saha’s) quality. He is definitely the best keeper in this format I will say. How agile he is! He is very safe behind the stumps. Our batting was outstanding again. Pujara and Rahane – our two best Test batsmen – Rahul getting runs and Jadeja contributing down the order.”
Jadeja was named Man of the Match, and said: “In the first innings, the ball was not turning that much. When we came on to bowl, we got turn from the middle part of the wicket. Mendis played very well and played some brilliant shots. Yeah, they batted very well. As a spinner, it is always a challenge when a batsman plays a sweep shot on a regular basis. We have to change our field and line and length.”