Sri Lanka handed India a memorable Independence Day gift when they succumbed to a heavy innings and 171 run defeat inside three days at Pallekele International Stadium yesterday. India celebrate their 70th Independence Day today (15th August). The embarrassing loss was Sri Lanka’s fifth worst in the history. India completed a clean sweep having won the first Test by 304 runs and the second by an innings and 53 runs.
The 3-0 whitewash is Sri Lanka’s worst series defeat at home. They did lose 3-0 to Australia in 2004, but that was a highly competitive series where Sri Lanka took the first innings lead in all three Tests. This time around, India completely dominated the contest and could have enforced the follow on in all three games. Virat Kohli decided against making Sri Lanka bat again in Galle, but having seen how dramatically they crashed in the first Test, he had no hesitation to make the hosts bat again at SSC and Pallekele.
Sri Lanka’s batting was shambolic in the first innings at Pallekele as they crashed for 135 runs inside 38 overs. In the second innings they lasted 75 overs and made 181 runs.
It was a shameless batting performance on a wicket where nothing was wrong. It was also on the same wicket where India’s number eight batsman, who hadn’t scored a First Class hundred, completed a maiden Test century.
Sri Lanka’s batsmen were like lambs to slaughter. Resuming from the overnight score of 19 for one, they lost three wickets in the morning session including Dimuth Karunaratne, who was in good nick in the first two Tests.
Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal delayed the inevitable by adding 65 runs for the fifth wicket applying themselves against the spinners. For the game to be extended and taken into the fourth day, both the experienced batsmen had to get big hundreds, but that wasn’t to be.
Soon after lunch, Chandimal offered a bat pad catch off the bowling of Kuldeep Yadav for 36.
Ravichandran Ashwin then struck removing Angelo Mathews and Dilruwan Perera in quick succession. Sri Lanka’s heavy use of the sweep shot in this series has been a talking point and Mathews perished when he attempted the shot and missed and was ruled out leg before wicket. Perera tried to clear deep mid-wicket, but hit it straight into the hands of Hardik Pandya.
Soon Sri Lanka were nine down and when tea approached, India opted for the extra half-hour to bowl out the opposition. It was all over for Sri Lanka with a session to spare as India completed a memorable whitewash