SL v IND, 1st Test, Day 2 Review: Hosts attempt a fight back but India firmly in control

SL v IND, 1st Test, Day 2 Review: Hosts attempt a fight back but India firmly in control

Sri Lanka lost 5 wickets in the first innings and are 446 runs behind the Indian total.

Mohammed Shami India
Indian bowler Mohammed Shami celebrates after dismissing Sri Lankan batsman Danushka Gunathilaka. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

After Team India handsomely dominated the first day’s proceedings, the second day implied to be spread a bit evenly but ended up in India’s favour. Upul Tharanga (64 off 93 balls) and Angelo Mathews (54 batting off 91 balls) led Sri Lanka’s fight back but some wickets were offered as presents to the Indians towards the end of the day, leaving the hosts way behind in the Test match.

Continuing at 399/3 the Indian batters lacked the fire power which was very much in their arsenal 24 hours ago. Chesteshwar Pujara (153 off 265 balls) managed to complete a 150 with a flick off the pads towards fine leg for four. Rahane (57 off 130 balls) also completed a half century with a boundary and things were sailing along smoothly till then.

But after just seven overs in the day’s proceedings, Pujara was dismissed by Nuwan Pradeep and things started to turn a little in favour of the hosts. Rahane also followed his partner a few overs later and it was the youngster Lahiru Kumara who got the better of the 29-year-old. Ravichandran Ashwin (47 off 60 balls) then joined the party and he was at his fluent best with his stroke play.

It indeed was a lovely cameo from the off-spinner who terrorized the off-side boundary and gave the Lankan skipper a lot to think about. Wriddhiman Saha (16) remained a mere spectator in this 58-run stand between the two, but the hosts once again fought back with two quick wickets, this time the well-set batters Ashwin and Saha played some rash shots in an attempt to get some quick runs.

Hardik Pandya sets Galle on fire!

Well, one can’t ask for a more memorable or ideal Test debut than this. Hardik Pandya (50 off 49 balls) walked into bat with India almost in a spot of bother at 491/6. There was a lot of curiosity surrounding how Pandya will deal with the red ball, but eventually, everyone got to know that he barely discriminates the red ball and treated it with equal tenacity as that of a white ball. Jadeja didn’t stick around for a long while but what followed was absolute carnage.

The all-rounder and Mohammed Shami hit some towering sixes which literally broke the Lankan hearts as they leaked quite a lot of runs after picking up 7 wickets. Shami and Pandya indulged in a six hitting competition and the Indian scoreboard kept augmenting at a brisk pace.

Shami was dismissed after scoring a run a ball 300 and Pandya too was dismissed by Lahiru Kumara just after he got to his maiden half-century in Test cricket. It was a splendid way to get off the mark in Test cricket and it also vanishes all the speculations regarding his ability to perform in the longer format.

India finished exactly at 600 and Nuwan Pradeep was the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers by some distance. He finished with an impressive 6-fer and Lahiru Kumara, who had a very bad outing yesterday, returned with three crucial wickets.

Decent start which turned into a turmoil

After losing Dimuth Karunaratne very early in the innings, Upul Tharanga and Danuskha Gunathilaka took the onus upon themselves to keep the scoreboard moving. They did a spectacular job, especially Tharanga, who was scoring at more than a run-a-ball in the first fifteen overs.

The southpaw played some delightful shots through the covers and the point regions and runs kept coming thick and fast. The duo added 61 runs, before Gunathilaka (16) and Kusal Mendis were dismissed in one over by Shami. Both these players nicked it to slips and Dhawan was there to grab the catch on both occasions.

The experience of Angelo Mathews and Tharanga then came into good effect for the Islanders as the duo batted very sensibly and didn’t allow the Indian bowling contingent to dominate the proceedings. Tharanga soon registered his fastest fifty in Tests. The duo batted almost for 20 overs and with few more overs left in the day, it seemed like these two gentlemen would bat Sri Lanka through but some silly cricket yet again cost Sri Lanka a hefty price.

Tharanga attempted an audacious run and Abhinav Mukund’s sharp fielding at silly point India got a wicket completely out of the run of play. Niroshan Dickwella was the next man in and he too was dismissed in no time as Mukund was again the fielder and took a brilliant catch off Ashwin. Dilruwan Perera and Mathews were at the crease at stumps with the latter reaching a well-deserved half-century at the stroke stumps on day 2. With three more days to go, only a miracle can save Sri Lanka from escaping the Indian wrath.

Brief Scores

India first innings: 600 in 133.1 overs (Dhawan 190, Pujara 153, Rahane 57, Pandya 50; Pradeep 6/132)

Sri Lanka first innings: 154/5 in 44 overs (Tharanga 64, Mathews 54*; Shami 2/20)