Galle, July 29 (IANS) Spin twins Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja took three wickets each to help India thrash Sri Lanka by 304 runs in the opening Test and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series at the Galle International Stadium here on Saturday.
Chasing an improbable 550, Sri Lanka, reduced to nine men after skipper Rangana Herath and Asela Gunaratne were ruled out, failed to put up a fight before being bundled out for 245 in their second innings.
Opener Dimuth Karunaratne and stumper Niroshan Dickwella provided some resistance by scoring 97 and 67 respectively but Ashwin (3/65) and Jadeja (3/71) dominated with the ball to clinically dismantle the hosts on the penultimate day itself.
Joining forces in the post-lunch session after the quick dismissals of Kusal Mendis (36) and Angelo Mathews (2), Karunaratne and Dickwella steadied the Sri Lankan ship to take them to 192/4 by tea.
Karunaratne’s gritty 208-ball knock proved to be the stumbling block for the Indians as he along with Dickwella added 101 runs for the fifth wicket before Ashwin, playing his career’s 50th Test, ended the stumper’s 94-ball vigil.
Ashwin struck again with the key wicket of the left-handed opener, who dragged a bottom-edge onto his stumps when he was in sight of a sixth Test hundred.
Tailenders Nuwan Pradeep (0) and Lahiru Kumara (0) failed to provide any support to Dilruwan Perera (21 not out) and were dismissed in quick succession by Ashwin and Jadeja respectively.
Earlier, after India declared their second innings at 240/3, the new ball duo of Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav dealt two quick blows in the form of Upul Tharanga (10) and Danushka Gunathilaka (2) respectively to reduce the home side to 85/2 at the lunch break.
Having got an attacking 64 in the first innings, Tharanga failed to cash on the advantage when Kohli dropped him at first slip, to be bowled off an inside edge in the next ball from Shami.
Gunathilaka also gifted his wicket by flicking Yadav’s delivery straight to square leg fielder Cheteshwar Pujara before Mendis and Karunaratne joined forces.
Resuming the day at 189/3, India skipper Virat Kohli (103 not out) went on to complete his 17th Test century, as the visitors stretched their second innings lead to 549 runs. Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane (23 not out) added a quickfire 51-run fourth wicket stand in 6.3 overs.
The India captain, who went unbeaten on 76 at stumps on the third evening, started tapping for singles and doubles, before latching on a Dilruwan Perera delivery to clobber over midwicket for six to move to 89.
He completed his hundred with a single to midwicket, reaching the landmark in 133 balls and thereby surpassed former India skipper Sourav Ganguly’s tally of 16 Test tons.
The 28-year-old has now equalled Indian stalwarts V.V.S. Laxman and Dilip Vengsarkar’s tally of 17 and is only behind Mohammad Azharuddin (22), Virender Sehwag (23), Sunil Gavaskar (34), Rahul Dravid (36) and Sachin Tendulkar (51).
This was also Kohli’s first century after a gap of seven innings, since his 204 against Bangladesh earlier this year.
In their first innings, India posted a massive total of 600, thanks to centuries from Shikhar Dhawan (190) and Cheteshwar Pujara (153) before skitling the Lankans out for 291.
With the win, India have now taken a 1-0 lead in the three-match series and will now head to Colombo for the second Test, starting August 3.
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