Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
India’s bowling attack worked as a cohesive unit to once again wreak havoc on Sri Lanka’s batting line-up and lead the tourists to an innings and 171-run win on the third day in Pallekele.
With India having demolished a lacklustre Sri Lanka side, they secured their first whitewash in an overseas Test series comprising of three or more Tests.
Starting off the day on 19/1, Sri Lanka only added seven runs to their overnight score before opener Dimuth Karunaratne was caught by Ajinkya Rahane at slip off the bowling of Ravichandran Ashwin for 16.
Things went from bad to worse for the hosts as nightwatchman Malinda Pushpakumara and Kusal Mendis were both dismissed by Mohammed Shami.
Captain Dinesh Chandimal and his predecessor Angelo Mathews temporarily kept India at bay with a 65-run partnership before Chandimal was sent packing by Kuldeep Yadav for 36.
Once Mathews fell for 35, Sri Lanka began to lose wickets at regular intervals, but wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella made a 52-ball 41 before he was brilliantly caught by Rahane off the bowling of Umesh Yadav.
Shortly after, Sri Lanka were skittled out for 181 when Lahiru Kumara was clean bowled by Ashwin for 10 runs.
Ashwin was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while Shami snapped up three, Umesh took two and Kuldeep claimed one.
Chandimal was disappointed to have lost, and said: “You can’t control the toss, a tough series as a team. India played some good cricket. Our batting and bowling was below-par through the series. We had to be more patient and concentrate more.”
India skipper Virat Kohli was pleased to have whitewashed Sri Lanka 3-0, and said: “A good day, a good win. Always nice to have a convincing win. I would say the regulars have performed, the biggest positive was Hardik’s inclusion – he gives us a boost in the middle order. We are a young side, looking forward to all Tests, that’s the only way you can be ruthless. We like to be proactive instead of reactive.”
India all-rounder Hardik Pandya was named Man of the Match, and said: “I was glad that I got my first hundred here, situation was pretty good for me. I was always going to have a target in mind. Test cricket is not easy to get five-fors, takes plenty of hardwork. I’m alright with where the team needs me to bat.”
India opener Shikhar Dhawan was named Man of the Series, and said: “Before the series, I was in Hong Kong enjoying my holiday. Things went very well for me. I got backup from my management, I enjoy playing this way, it’s my natural game. I’ve to keep doing i, nothing permanent, we have tight competition for all positions.”