Sri Lanka suffer heavy 304-run defeat

Sri Lankan batsman Dimuth Karunaratne (R) is dismissed by Indian bowler Ravichandran Ashwin as wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha (L) looks on during the fourth day of the first Test match between Sri Lanka and India at Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle on July 29, 2017. (AFP)

 

Sri Lanka suffered their heaviest defeat to India in terms of runs when they were thrashed by 304 runs with a day to spare at the Galle International Stadium yesterday.

Set an improbable 550-run target, Sri Lanka were bowled out after tea on day four as India took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. It was Sri Lanka’s biggest defeat against India in terms of runs, worse than their 278 run defeat at P. Sara Oval, two years ago.

India declared their second innings on 240 for three after captain Virat Kohli completed his 17th Test hundred and the second against Sri Lanka.

An early start due to previous day’s rain meant that Sri Lanka had to bat for 23 overs before lunch and in that period they lost Upul Tharanga and Danushka Gunathilaka. Tharanga had a life when he was dropped by Virat Kohli, but Mohammad Shami dismissed him in the same over when he got one ball to nip back and the batsman ended dragging the ball onto the stumps.

Debutant Danushka Gunathilaka flicked one straight into the hands of the short square leg fielder, a ploy India will use against him having sensed his vulnerability to whip the full ball in the air.

Kusal Mendis added 79 runs for the third wicket with Dimuth Karunaratne and the stand was broken when Mendis edged left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja to the wicketkeeper.

When Angelo Mathews was dismissed cheaply for two, the signs of an early finish were there. But Niroshan Dickwella provided good support to Karunaratne to ensure no further wickets fell until tea.

There was a glimmer of hope that the game could be extended to the final day as the fifth wicket partnership between them extended beyond 100 runs. But with the dismissal of Dickwella for a well compiled 67 Sri Lanka’s hopes faded away again.

Dimuth Karunaratne played brilliantly for his 97 having batted for almost five hours. But between 80 and 97, he had got stranded needing 57 deliveries without a boundary. He was dismissed attempting to sweep Ashwin and dragged the ball onto the stumps. Karunaratne faced 209 deliveries and hit nine fours.

 

From 240 for five, Sri Lanka collapsed to 245 all out. Captain Rangana Herath, who had bruised his middle finger in his left-hand didn’t bat as Sri Lanka didn’t want to risk him while Asela Gunaratne is completely out of the series with a fractured left thumb.

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