13 Aug 2017 - 1:19
Shikhar Dhawan smashed a scintillating century for India, but Sri Lanka’s spinners struck five times to leave the tourists on edge after the first day of the third Test yesterday.
14 Aug 2017 - 14:04
Pallekele, Sri Lanka: Ravichandran Ashwin grabbed four wickets on Monday as India crushed Sri Lanka by an innings and 171 runs inside three days to complete their first three-Test series sweep on foreign soil.
Off-spinner Ashwin and paceman Mohammed Shami shared seven wickets as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 181 in their follow-on in Pallekele.
Sri Lanka crumbled to 135 all out in their first response to India's first innings 487, putting the world's top Test team in firm control.
"We are a young side. We look forward to playing Test cricket with the same kind of excitement. That's the only way you can be ruthless...We like to be proactive rather than reactive," said captain Virat Kohli.
"We have age on our side. We have an opportunity to play together for five-six years with this whole bunch and this really excites us," he added.
All-rounder Hardik Pandya set up the win with a blistering, 96-ball 108, cracking his maiden Test century in just his third game.
The 23-year-old Pandya, who hit eight fours and seven sixes, received the man of the match award. He also bowled out former Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews for nought in the first innings.
"The regulars have performed like they have been doing...but the biggest positive would be Hardik's inclusion and the way he has shaped up in the first three Tests," said Kohli.
"The kind of confidence he has shown with the ball and the maturity with the bat as well, it really gives the boost down the order and a lot of balance as far as our composition of the side is concerned," added Kohli.
Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav turned up the heat with four wickets in Sri Lanka's first innings as the islanders conceded a 352-run first innings lead.
And Ashwin kept up the pressure on the beleaguered hosts, striking the first blow of the morning session by sending back opener Dimuth Karunaratne for 16.
- 'Tough series' -
Skipper Dinesh Chandimal, who made 36, provided some resistence during his 65-run fifth-wicket stand with Angelo Mathews.
Kuldeep, playing just his second Test, broke the partnership with Chandimal's wicket just after lunch, and Ashwin soon got Mathews for 35 as Sri Lanka slipped further.
Wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella top-scored with 41 before falling to the guile of the lanky off-spinner.
Shami combined with Ashwin to mop up the tail as struggling Sri Lanka suffered their second successive innings loss after the Colombo Test.
"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," said a disappointed Chandimal.
Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan, who hit a brisk 119 in the first innings, was named the man of the series for topping the run chart. The left-handed batsman accumulated 358 runs inthe series with two hundreds.
The two sides now play a limited-overs series with the first of the five one-day international on August 20 in Dambulla. They will play a single Twenty20 match after.