SL v IND, 3rd Test, Day 3: CT Player of the day - Ravichandran Ashwin

SL v IND, 3rd Test, Day 3: CT Player of the day – Ravichandran Ashwin

Ravichandran Ashwin was the star of the show today taking 4 wickets in the second innings.

Ravichandran Ashwin India
India’s Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates with teammates after he dismissed Sri Lankan batter Malinda Pushpakumara. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Ravichandran Ashwin was the star of the show today taking 4 wickets in the second innings against weak Sri Lankan batting line up. His effort with the ball in the second innings ensured that India won the match by an innings and 171 runs. In turn, India completed a clean sweep in the 3 match series.

The win was a formality

At the start of day 2, Sri Lanka was still trailing by 333 runs and had already lost the wicket of Upul Tharanga. Considering the performances of Sri Lankan batting line up throughout the tour, the win for India just seemed a formality. Sri Lanka had the fight to save themselves from an innings defeat when the overnight pair of Karunaratne and Pushpakumara came to bat on Day 3.

Indians must have come to the ground with the goal of finishing off Sri Lankan innings as quickly as possible. Sri Lanka proved to be gracious hosts as they have done for much of the tour, and we saw another meek submission from them.

Mohammed Shami was in a mood today taking two early wickets, with Ashwin picking one wicket. Shami got the wickets of in form Kusal Mendis and night watchman Pushpakumara. While Ravichandran Ashwin got the wicket of opener Karunaratne. Sri Lanka had already lost 4 wickets with only 39 on the scoreboard.

In the first innings too, Sri Lankan top order failed badly. Getting all out for less than 100 would have been very embarrassing. Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal and former captain Angelo Matthews started the rebuilding job. At lunch on Day 3, Sri Lanka was at 82 for the loss of 4 wickets.

Just when Sri Lanka looked like putting some fight, the hero of Indian bowling in the second innings Kuldeep Yadav got the better of Chandimal. The Sri Lankan captain had batted well for his 36 and had put on a 62 run partnership with Angelo Mathews. After Chandimal’s dismissal, Sri Lanka lost the will to fight and kept losing wickets at the regular intervals.

Soon Ravichandran Ashwin got the wicket of experienced Angelo Mathews and it was game over from there on. When Mathews departed Sri Lanka’s score read 118 for the loss of 6 wickets. Sri Lanka still needed to get 254 runs to save themselves from the innings defeat.

Niroshan Dickwella showed some resistance scoring 41 runs at a fast rate. Dickwella kept on losing partners at the other end and was himself dismissed by Yadav. Ravichandran Ashwin did a good job in brushing off Sri Lanka’s tail. He took 2 more wickets including the final wicket of Kumara. India thus won the match by an innings and 171 runs.

Positives for Team India

This has been a very successful series for team India. Virat Kohli’s men can take out many positives from the series. Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan was adjudged the ‘man of the series’ as he finally seems to be getting his act together in Test match cricket.

Hardik Pandya was awarded the man of the match award. While it is too easy to judge but India’s quest to find genuine fast bowling all rounder seems to be over. He can be a very useful player in the overseas conditions where he would give India, the luxury to pick extra batsman.

Ashwin in decent form

Ashwin has been in great form in Sri Lanka with both bat and ball. He has been chipping away wickets throughout the tour. He took 17 wickets in the 3 Test matches which are great considering the fact that pitches were on the flatter side. Whenever other bowlers were getting wickets he made sure that he kept run rate in check from the other end. It’s impressive how he built a good partnership with youngster Kuldeep Yadav in the final Test.

Ashwin is turning into a genuine all-rounder, with captain Kohli exhibiting full faith in his ability. Virat Kohli took the call of promoting Ashwin in the batting order. He promoted the off spinner to the no.6 position, and Ashwin has fully repaid his faith. India’s premier off spinner scored 132 runs in 3 innings at an impressive average of 44.

Good to see the all-rounders

All top teams in the past have always consisted of good all-rounders. India has always had a dearth of genuine all-rounders, but now the situation has changed. India has quite a few genuine all[-rounders in the squad now. Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Ravindra Jadeja have performed well with both bat and ball over the last year. There are positive times ahead for the Indian team.