NAGPUR: India crushed Sri Lanka by an innings and 239 runs yesterday, equaling India’s biggest ever test victory and handing the tourists their biggest ever test defeat. Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took eight wickets in the match to take his career test tally to 300 wickets. His final wicket saw him overtake Dennis Lillee’s title of quickest to reach 300. Ashwin reached 300 in his 54th test, two matches fewer than the legendary Australian paceman.
Ashwin took 4-63 in Sri Lanka’s second innings after also bagging four wickets in the first innings to take his career tally to exactly 300. Sri Lanka’s Dinesh Chandimal scored a counter-attacking 14th test halfcentury as the rest of the team folded. “We were completely outplayed in this match. We won the toss but failed to score enough runs.
On this pitch, playing against India, you need minimum 350 runs on this pitch,” he said. Ashwin reached the 300-wicket milestone in his 54th Test appearance, two matches less than the previous record holder, former Australian paceman Lillee. Ravindra Jadeja (2-28), Umesh Yadav (2-30) and Ishant Sharma (2-43) all captured two wickets each as Sri Lanka collapsed to 166 all out in their second innings just after lunch on the fourth day. Riding on Virat Kohli’s fifth Test double hundred, India had scored 610-6 declared in their first innings in reply to Sri Lanka’s poor effort of 205. Trailing by 405 runs on the first innings, the visitors resumed on 21-1 and lost seven wickets in the extended morning session. Dimuth Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne added 13 to the overnight total before Karunaratne departed for 18, caught by Murali Vijay at forward short leg off Jadeja.
Thirimanne followed soon after for 23, caught at backward point off Yadav, then Angelo Mathews went for 10, holing out at mid-off off Jadeja as the wickets began to tumble rapidly. Niroshan Dickwella was caught in the slips off Sharma for four then Dasun Shanka fell to Ashwin for 17. Ashwin struck twice more after the umpires agreed to extend the session in the possibility of getting a result. He trapped Dilruwan Perera leg before wicket for a qolden duck then had Rangana Herath caught at slip without scoring.
Chandimal’s resistance finally gave way after lunch when he fell to Yadav then Ashwin bowled Lahiru Garnaga for a duck to claim his 300th test victim and end the match. “The pitch was very good to bat on and there wasn’t much in it. I just batted the way I wanted to, rotating strike and keeping the scoreboard ticking,” said Kohli. “Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara batted well too. Rohit Sharma made a statement with his century. The bowlers are doing very well. We believe we are preparing for the South Africa tour,” he added. The first Test in Kolkata was drawn. The third Test begins in Delhi on Saturday. — AP