Recent Match Report – India vs Sri Lanka 2nd Test 2021/22


R Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah shared seven between them to wrap up a dominant series sweep

India 252 (Iyer 92, Jayawickrama 3-81, Embuldeniya 3-94) and 303 for 9 dec. (Iyer 67, Pant 50, Jayawickrama 4-78) beat Sri Lanka 109 (Mathews 43, Bumrah 5-24) and 208 (Karunaratne 107, Mendis 54, Ashwin 4-55, Bumrah 3-23) by 238 runs

For 173 balls, Dimuth Karunaratne defied India. In constructing a fine 14th Test century, he showed his team-mates hitting your way out of trouble wasn’t the only way to succeed on a tough Bengaluru track that offered sharp turn and variable bounce. Then he got a pearl from Jasprit Bumrah that breached his defences.

Even someone as well set as he was couldn’t quite judge the extent of late inward movement on that full delivery, and that was that for Sri Lanka. In the face of a relentless attack, the others proved to be sitting ducks as their high-risk, high-returns strategy fell flat. India wrapped up an emphatic 2-0 series win inside two sessions on the third day at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. The series lasted all of six days, with Sri Lanka’s 208 all out in their final innings being their highest total of the lot.

The innings promised a lot more, especially after Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis started the day positively. While Mendis’s positivity wasn’t much of a surprise, Karunaratne tried to take a leaf out of Shreyas Iyer’s book early in the day, repeatedly stepping out to negate Jadeja from the rough. In the very first over, he also attempted an uncharacteristic reverse sweep. This wasn’t the stonewaller Karunaratne, who has methodically constructed knocks to be the highest run-getter among openers since 2018. This was Karunaratne trying to throw the oppositions spinners off their settings in the face of a challenging surface.

This approach rubbed off on Mendis too, as he stepped out and took Ashwin on at the other end. The first eight overs of the day produced 42, and suddenly India were searching for answers. In this period, what worked for Sri Lanka was their clarity in committing themselves fully forward or going right back to play the ball. The odd ball scooting low or jumping from the rough didn’t seem to bother them much. Mendis raised his 12th half-century off just 57 balls.

But the party didn’t last long as he ran down the pitch, only to be deceived by Ashwin’s guile. Stepping out to smother the spin, he was done in by the skid off the pitch as Rishabh Pant effected an excellent stumping. This helped Ashwin equal Dale Steyn’s tally of 439 Test wickets, a day after he went past Kapil Dev’s tally of 434.

On a surface that turns big, the most dangerous delivery is often the one that doesn’t turn. Angelo Mathews found out as much the hard way, stabbing at a Jadeja delivery outside the line only for the ball to sneak through and flatten the stumps. From there on, Sri Lanka were in free fall.

Dhanajaya de Silva was out to sharp turn as he lobbed a catch to Hanuma Vihari at short leg, Ashwin going past Steyn with that. Niroshan Dickwella survived a DRS call for caught behind, but his tendency to run down the pitch and play big shots cost him as he was done in by Axar Patel’s skid to be stumped.

As all this played out at one end, Karunaratne shelved his enterprising avatar and brought out the hard grind, also to good effect. He played with soft hands, played with his bat close to the body and ensured he didn’t let the spinners dictate terms. The same could hardly be said about the rest of the line-up. Charith Asalanka was the next to go as he lobbed a simple catch to backward square leg.

Full report to follow…

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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