With a draw in the bag in the first test and needing to be on their toes in the second test, Sri Lanka totaled 205 in the first innings having won the toss and elected to bat on the opening day against India at Nagpur today Friday. The top scorer was skipper Dinesh Chandimal with 54 while opener Dimuth Karunaratne chipped in with 51. India had replied with 11 for 1 wicket at stumps.
Sri Lanka recovered from a shaky 60 for 3 wickets in 30 overs after Lahiru Thirimanne’s departure to 122 for 4 when Karunaratne who was shaping well was trapped leg before wicket by paceman Ishant Sharma. Karunaratne’s 147-ball knock contained 6 boundaries. The fifth wicket pair of Dinesh Chandimal and Niroshan Dickwella looked set to front up a healthy total when they took the total to 160 for 4.But Dickwella exited by a rush of blood big hoist off Jadeja that did not clear the ropes with Ishant Sharma taking the catch. At that juncture Sri Lanka had consumed up 61 overs. The Chandimal-Dickwella partnership yielded 38 runs. Dickwella’s knock came off 30 deliveries and hitting four boundaries.
The start saw Sadeera Samarawickrema make 13 off 15 balls with a solitary boundary being dismissed by Sharma spooning a catch to Pujara. The first wicket fell at 20 in 4.5 overs. The advent of Lahiru Thirimanne in the prime No.3 slot saw the second wicket realize 24 runs consuming 18.5 overs with the left hander’s intent on blunting the Indian attack. But his intentions did not materialize to desired proportions as Thirimanne made 9 off 58 balls not penetrating the boundary line.
Both Chandimal and Karunaratne reached personal milestones; Chandimal posting 3000 test runs and Karunaratne 1000. Dickwella’s exit opened the gates for the Indian bowlers to make further inroads. Dasun Shanaka was gone for 2 in 15 balls playing a shaky defensive stroke to Ashwin who hit the stumps and it was 165 for 5. Dilruwan Perera combined with the skipper in adding 19 runs making 15 off 21 balls becoming Jadeja’s second leg before victim. At that stage the total was 184 for 7 in 70.4 overs and soon after Chandimal fell with no addition to the total. He faced 122 balls hitting four boundaries and a six. The ninth wicket pair of Rangana Herath and Suranga Lakmal took Sri Lanka past the 200-run mark with Lakmal striking a quick fire 17 off 25 inclusive of four hits to the ropes. Lakmal was out with the total on 205 and Herath followed with no addition holing out to Rahane off Sharma who finished with 3 for 37 on his comeback to the fold. The pick of the bowlers was R. Aswin with 4 for 67 off 28.1 overs while R.A. Jadeja took 3 for 56.
Sri Lanka did draw blood by the early wicket of K.L. Rahul in the fifth ball of the fourth over by Lahiru Gamage who rattled his stumps to leave India on 1 for 7 in 3.5 overs. India closed the day on 11 in 8 overs with M. Vijay and C.A. Pujara on 2 each as the early breakthrough must have raised the morale of the Sri Lankans of extracting the same fortunes as they did in India’s first innings at Eden Gardens.
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-