When Dinesh Chandimal raised his bat after completing his second fifty of the match, it could not have been more awkward for him. Sri Lanka with 8 wickets down, was then on the verge of defeat. As it turned out, they lost to India by an innings and 239 which is their worst defeat in test history.
It was always a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ as the day 4 of the 2nd test between Indi and Sri Lanka began. Even those in the Lankan camp would have had little hope that Sri Lanka could save the match, leave winning aside. Even if the Lankans could have been able to drag the match till the last session (preferably last hour), they may have managed to save some face.
When the match ended pre maturely a little after lunch with Sri Lanka being skittled out at 166, it brought disgrace to Lankan cricket. Losing a match is one thing, but losing it in the manner that Sri Lanka did was unbecoming of a test playing nation.
The collapse commences
Having already lost opener Sadeera Samarawickrama on day 3, Sri Lanka came out to bat with 9 wickets in hand. On the very second ball of Ravindra Jadeja’s first over as Karunaratne stepped out, the ball spun and took the inside part of his bat. It went at such a pace to Murli Vijay who was stationed at short leg that it would have been dropped 4 times out of 5. However, such was the day for Sri Lanka that Vijay somehow managed to hold on to the catch, thus making the first inroad for the day.
Meanwhile, Lahiru Thirimanne had begun to find his feet as the ball was rarely spinning in the first hour of play. As he begun to look a little comfortable on the crease against spin, Thirimane chose to play the strangest of shots. The southpaw chased an extremely full and wide delivery of Umesh Yadav, only managing to loop it up to Jadeja who comfortably pouched it.
Lankan middle order fails to weather the storm AGAIN!
Sri Lanka had all hopes pinned on skipper Dinesh Chandimal and senior batsman Angelo Mathews who form the backbone of Sri Lanka’s middle order. Mathews looked in a nonchalant mood as he hit Jadeja for a boundary straight over his head without even the slightest movement of his feet. What followed would have certainly not set a great example for the Lankan youngsters. Mathews, as an extension of his blithely unconcerned temper went for an on the rise drive off Jadeja without reaching to the pitch of the ball. As a result, the ball went flying to Rohit Sharma at mid off who did not make any mistake.
In came the flamboyant Niroshan Dickwella, who had to face a fierce spell from lanky Indian pacer Ishant Sharma. The Lankan keeper who came in to bat on the back of his delaying tactics in Kolkata could only survive two dozen deliveries. A short pitched delivery from Ishant took his outside edge, which was caught by Virat Kohli in the slips in his second attempt.
Strangest of the strange
Next to come in was Dasun Shanaka, who was probably in a hurry to catch the flight to Delhi. The all rounder, of all Lankan batters had the strangest approach towards the situation. When he came into bat, the Lankans were tottering at 75-5. What was expected of his was to hold one end and stitch a partnership with his captain who seemed to be playing well.
On the contrary, Shanaka decided to go all guns blazing, taking on Ashwin for a couple of boundaries in one over. After 7 deliveries the inevitable happened when he was caught in the deep off Ashwin. When he got out, his stats showed a strike rate of over 200. To say the least, Shanaka was playing some other format of the game as opposed to the rest of the players.
Spun a web
The spin duo of Herath and Parera departed as soon as they went in. Dilruwan Parera was lbw first ball to an arm ball from Ashwin. He opted for DRS but in vain. His senior partner followed Parera’s footsteps as he was caught of his second ball off Ashwin. Both spinners did not trouble the scorers at all as they departed for naught.
With Sri Lanka eight down, play was extended for 15 minutes for Indians to do the final mop up. The Lankans survived this short span with Chandimal notching up his second fifty of the match.
As play resumed after Lunch, Lakmal freed his hands to score a few boundaries. Chandimal was looking comfortable at the crease before he joined the likes of Thirimanne and Shanaka to make a bizarre shot selection. He flicked a ball from Umesh Yadav in the air off his pads straight to Ashwin at fine leg.
The match came to a befitting end as Ashwin completed 300 test scalps by deceiving Gamage with a carrom ball that brushed the off stump.
It will be all about honour for Sri Lanka as India look to maintain their winning streak when both teams proceed to Delhi for the last test of the three match series.