Recent Match Report – India vs Sri Lanka 1st Test 2021/22



Match haul of nine wickets to go with his 175 not out; R Ashwin ends game with six scalps to go past Kapil Dev

India 574 for 8 dec. (Jadeja 175*, Pant 96, Ashwin 61, Vihari 58) beat Sri Lanka 174 (Nissanka 61*, Jadeja 5-41) and 178 (Dickwella 51*, Jadeja 4-46, Ashwin 4-47) by an innings and 222 runs

It was a day of landmarks and milestones for India. Ravindra Jadeja became only the sixth man to score 150 or more and take a five-for in the same Test. R Ashwin went past Kapil Dev as the second-highest wicket-taker for India. In the process, Sri Lanka collapsed under the weight of a relentless India attack and lost 16 wickets in 67 overs to lose by an innings and 222 runs inside three days. Jadeja, who ended one wicket short of becoming the first man to score 150 or more in a Test innings and take 10 wickets in the same match, ended his third straight Mohali Test as the Player of the Match.

The longest resistance Sri Lanka offered was a 17-over partnership in the second innings between Angelo Mathews and Dhananjaya de Silva, followed by the 15 overs it took India to take the first wicket in the morning. Six wickets fell for 13 runs in 43 balls to encourage Rohit Sharma to enforce the follow-on.

The bigger hauls might have gone to the spinners, but the fast bowlers added to their threat with their continuous interrogation of the batters, which meant the pressure was not released and spinners could get their breaks. The first wicket of the day went to pace, a bewitching slower ball from Japsrit Bumrah, which pitched within the stumps, beat Charith Asalanka, squared him up, hit him within the stumps, and would have gone to hit the top of off.

With Pathum Nissanka fighting diligently at the other end, the rest folded in a strangely reckless manner. Niroshan Dickwella faced five balls from Jadeja, played three sweeps, not in control of any of them, and the final top edge settled with square leg placed two-thirds to the boundary. Suranga Lakmal tried an almighty slog the second ball he faced.

Lasith Embuldeniya could not cope with a nasty skiddy bouncer from Mohammed Shami. Jadeja was too good for Nos. 10 and 11. Vishwa Fernando edged to second slip, and the injured Lahiru Kumara hobbled out to find out his feet didn’t move quick enough to cover the off stump, leaving Jadeja with a five-for and a shot at a hat-trick in the second innings, which was to resume immediately thanks to a rare follow-on.

In the four overs possible before lunch, Ashwin gave India the first wicket just like in the first innings. With this edge from Lahiru Thirimanne to second slip, the result of dip and turn, Ashwin has taken Thirimanne out seven times for 50 runs in Tests, and 14 times for 140 runs in international cricket. Ashwin’s second, on the other side of lunch, was just as masterful, with the ball dipping on Nissanka to make him defend away from the body. The ball didn’t turn as much as the previous ones did, and the edge settled with Rishabh Pant, who continued to show how much he has improved as a wicketkeeper.

It took a special delivery to get rid of Sri Lanka’s best batter, Dimuth Karunaratne. Shami angled it in from round the wicket, making him play, but the ball hit the seam and moved away slightly to take a soft edge that Pant took diving in front. His best grab was yet to come, though.

Mathews and de Silva now got a bit of a partnership, but Jadeja came back to separate them. de Silva got too ambitious with the driving, and Jadeja inevitably got the ball to dip and draw an aerial response for short extra cover to take.

The flood gates opened then with the next three wickets falling at the same score of 121. The first of those was Asalanka, edging Ashwin to slip in the first over after tea, which took Ashwin to 435 Test wickets. In the course of the match, Ashwin overtook Richard Hadlee, Rangana Herath and Kapil. Dale Steyn at 439 wickets remains in his sights.

Once Jadeja got Mathews out with a ball turned from middle and leg, it was only a matter of time. Time has been short for Lakmal, who bagged his pair with a second heave in five balls of batting.

Dickwella hung around with the tail, but Jadeja reached his ninth wicket with a lovely catch from Pant when the ball stayed low, turned less than expected and took a healthy deviation from the bat of Embuldeniya.

The last two, though, went to Shami and Ashwin, but Jadeja wasn’t complaining.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo


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