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Saturday, July 29, 2017

2017 India Tour of Sri Lanka - Sri Lanka Vs India First Test @ Galle - India beat Sri Lanka by 30 Runs Saturday July 29,2017

The writing was very much on the wall before the start of play on the fourth day Saturday July 29,2017  and a quality knock from Sri Lanka opener Dimuth Karunaratne only delayed the inevitable as Virat Kohli and boys thrashed Sri Lanka by 304 runs in the first Test at the Galle International Stadium with a day to spare in the game.

India 600 and 240/3
Sri Lanka 291 and 245
Match Result - India won by 304 Runs

304 - The biggest margin of victory for India in Tests away from home in terms of runs. This was Sri Lanka’s biggest loss in Tests. The previous highest victory margin in terms of runs was 279 against England in Leeds in 1986. This is also the fourth-biggest win for India in Tests.

 The Indians outplayed Rangana Herath and his boys in all the departments at Galle to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

In his first series after being appointed head coach, Ravi Shastri couldn’t have expected for a better start as his boys showed a lot of conviction on a Galle wicket that didn’t have much for the bowlers. 

Compared to the general wicket prepared at the venue over the years, this one was more suited to the batsmen. 

But the Indian bowlers kept toiling hard after skipper Kohli led the way with a disciplined hundred.

Chasing 550 to win was always going to be impossible and it was more about the Lankans playing out time and stretching the game into the fifth day. 

But R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja ensured that the resistance was finally broken in the 77th over by Jadeja as he sent back Lahiru Kumara for a duck. While Ashwin finished with 3/65, Jadeja had figures of 3/71. 

Injuries to Asela Gunaratne — first session of the opening day — and skipper Herath — while fielding on Friday — meant that the visitors needed to pick just 8 wickets in the second essay to end the game and they did that with aplomb after Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav used the new ball to great effect.

Shami and Umesh started off impressively, sending back Upul Tharanga (10) and Danushka Gunathilaka (2) respectively within the first 10 overs and post that, it was always about playing against time for the Lankan batsmen. Kusal Mendis did try and provide some support to Karunaratne as the two put on 79 for the third wicket. But luck ran out for Mendis when DRS came to India’s rescue. Jadeja got the faintest of edges off Mendis’ (36) bat and while the umpire said it was not out, Saha and Jadeja convinced Kohli to go for a review and Mendis had to walk back.

With the score reading 108/3, Angelo Mathews joined Karunaratne in the middle and it was imperative for the former Lanka skipper to show patience and character. But unfortunately, that didn’t happen and Mathews played the most immature shot and went for a wild hoick, only to edge Jadeja to Hardik Pandya at backward point for 2. With the senior-most batsman back in the hut, Lanka were looking down the barrel.

But Niroshan Dickwella refused to throw it away and decided to grind it out. While he didn’t really play the most orthodox shots, Dickwella took calculated risks unlike his former skipper Mathews and along with Karunaratne, the two put on 101 runs for the 5th wicket as they frustrated the Indian bowlers. But once again, Ashwin rose to the challenge and coming back to bowl after the tea break, he got a faint edge off Dickwella’s (67) bat for Saha to complete another catch.

With the score reading 217/5, Dilruwan Perera joined Karunaratne and while Perera had hit an unbeaten 92 in the first innings, it was impossible to think that he would play another such knock with the Indian spinner sniffing victory and going for the kill.

Unfortunately, it was Karunaratne (97) was the first person to crack under pressure as Ashwin cleaned him up. Trying to sweep Ashwin, the opener managed to drag it onto his stumps. And once Karunaratne had been dismissed, it was all a matter of time before India sealed the deal.

Earlier, India started off on expected lines with Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane looking to bat out just 30 minutes in the morning session. They looked to stay positive from the word go and managed to score 51 runs from the 6.3 overs with Kohli completing his 17th Test hundred and Rahane too getting some quality batting practice.

While Kohli finished unbeaten on 103 off 136 balls, vice-captain Rahane finished on 23 off 18 balls. By the time Kohli decided to pull down the shutters, India’s lead had extended to 549 and meant that Lanka would need 550 to win the game. 

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