Fading light reprieves SL of embarrassing defeat

India batting, 1st innings (Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to bowl first)
Batsmen Dismissal Runs 4s 6s Strike rate
L Rahul caught Dickwella, bowled Lakmal 0 (1) 0 0 0.00
S Dhawan bowled Lakmal 8 (11) 1 0 72.72
C Pujara bowled Gamage 52 (117) 10 0 44.44
V Kohli leg before wicket Lakmal 0 (11) 0 0 0.00
A Rahane caught Dickwella, bowled Shanaka 4 (21) 1 0 19.04
R Ashwin caught Karunaratne, bowled Shanaka 4 (29) 1 0 13.79
W Saha caught Mathews, bowled Perera 29 (83) 6 0 34.93
R Jadeja leg before wicket Perera 22 (37) 2 1 59.45
B Kumar caught Dickwella, bowled Lakmal 13 (17) 1 0 76.47
M Shami caught Shanaka, bowled Gamage 24 (22) 3 0 109.09
U Yadav not out 6 (8) 1 0 75.00
Extras: 10 (4 leg byes, 6 byes)
India’s total: 172/10 in 59.3 overs, at 2.89 runs per over
Fall of wickets: 0/1 (L Rahul, 0.1), 13/2 (S Dhawan, 6.2), 17/3 (V Kohli, 10.1), 30/4 (A Rahane, 17.2), 50/5 (R Ashwin, 25.6), 79/6 (C Pujara, 37.2), 127/7 (R Jadeja, 51.2), 128/8 (W Saha, 51.5), 146/9 (B Kumar, 56.2), 172/10 (M Shami, 59.3)
Sri Lanka bowling, 1st innings
Bowlers Overs Maidens Runs given Wickets Economy
S Lakmal 19 12 26 4 1.36
L Gamage 17.3 5 59 2 3.37
D Shanaka 12 4 36 2 3.00
D Karunaratne 2 0 17 0 8.50
R Herath 2 0 5 0 2.50
D Perera 7 1 19 2 2.71
Sri Lanka batting, 1st innings
Batsmen Dismissal Runs 4s 6s Strike rate
S Samarawickrama caught Saha, bowled Bhuvneshwar 23 (22) 3 0 104.54
D Karunaratne leg before wicket Bhuvneshwar 8 (15) 1 0 53.33
L Thirimanne caught Kohli, bowled Umesh 51 (94) 8 0 54.25
A Mathews caught Rahul, bowled Umesh 52 (94) 8 0 55.31
D Chandimal caught Saha, bowled Shami 28 (57) 3 0 49.12
N Dickwella caught Kohli, bowled Shami 35 (38) 5 0 92.10
D Shanaka leg before wicket Bhuvneshwar 0 (3) 0 0 0.00
D Perera caught Saha, bowled Shami 5 (34) 0 0 14.70
R Herath caught Shami, bowled Bhuvneshwar 67 (105) 9 0 63.80
S Lakmal bowled Shami 16 (37) 3 0 43.24
L Gamage not out 0 (3) 0 0 0.00
Extras: 9 (1 wide, 4 leg byes, 4 byes)
Sri Lanka’s total: 294/10 in 83.4 overs, at 3.51 runs per over
Fall of wickets: 29/1 (D Karunaratne, 4.5), 34/2 (S Samarawickrama, 6.4), 133/3 (L Thirimanne, 36.2), 138/4 (A Mathews, 38.5), 200/5 (N Dickwella, 52.5), 201/6 (D Shanaka, 53.3), 201/7 (D Chandimal, 54.2), 244/8 (D Perera, 68.6), 290/9 (R Herath, 82.3), 294/10 (S Lakmal, 83.4)
India bowling, 1st innings
Bowlers Overs Maidens Runs given Wickets Economy
B Kumar 27 5 88 4 3.25
M Shami 26.3 5 100 4 3.77
U Yadav 20 1 79 2 3.95
R Ashwin 8 2 13 0 1.62
V Kohli 1.1 0 5 0 4.28
R Jadeja 1 0 1 0 1.00
India batting, 2nd innings (trail by 122 runs)
Batsmen Dismissal Runs 4s 6s Strike rate
L Rahul bowled Lakmal 79 (125) 8 0 63.20
S Dhawan caught Dickwella, bowled Shanaka 94 (116) 11 2 81.03
C Pujara caught Perera, bowled Lakmal 22 (51) 3 0 43.13
V Kohli not out 104 (119) 12 2 87.39
A Rahane leg before wicket Lakmal 0 (4) 0 0 0.00
R Jadeja caught Thirimanne, bowled Perera 9 (41) 1 0 21.95
R Ashwin bowled Shanaka 7 (25) 1 0 28.00
W Saha caught Samarawickrama, bowled Shanaka 5 (23) 0 0 21.73
B Kumar caught Perera, bowled Gamage 8 (18) 1 0 44.44
M Shami not out 12 (11) 2 0 109.09
Batsman who didn’t bat: U Yadav
Extras: 12 (3 wides, 1 no-ball, 1 leg bye, 7 byes)
India’s total: 352/8 dec. in 88.4 overs, at 3.96 runs per over
Fall of wickets: 166/1 (S Dhawan, 37.1), 192/2 (L Rahul, 44.2), 213/3 (C Pujara, 52.2), 213/4 (A Rahane, 52.6), 249/5 (R Jadeja, 65.5), 269/6 (R Ashwin, 73.5), 281/7 (W Saha, 79.3), 321/8 (B Kumar, 85.4)
Sri Lanka bowling, 2nd innings
Bowlers Overs Maidens Runs given Wickets Economy
S Lakmal 24.4 4 93 3 3.77
L Gamage 23 2 97 1 4.21
D Shanaka 22 1 76 3 3.45
D Perera 13 2 49 1 3.76
R Herath 6 1 29 0 4.83
Sri Lanka batting, 2nd innings (target: 231 runs)
Batsmen Dismissal Runs 4s 6s Strike rate
S Samarawickrama bowled Bhuvneshwar 0 (6) 0 0 0.00
D Karunaratne bowled Shami 1 (6) 0 0 16.66
L Thirimanne caught Rahane, bowled Bhuvneshwar 7 (28) 1 0 25.00
A Mathews leg before wicket Umesh 12 (23) 2 0 52.17
D Chandimal bowled Shami 20 (33) 3 0 60.60
N Dickwella leg before wicket Bhuvneshwar 27 (36) 2 2 75.00
D Shanaka not out 6 (17) 1 0 35.29
D Perera bowled Bhuvneshwar 0 (7) 0 0 0.00
R Herath not out 0 (4) 0 0 0.00
Batsmen who didn’t bat: S Lakmal, L Gamage
Extras: 2 (1 no-ball, 1 leg bye)
Sri Lanka’s total: 75/7 in 26.3 overs, at 2.83 runs per over
Fall of wickets: 0/1 (S Samarawickrama, 0.6), 2/2 (D Karunaratne, 3.3), 14/3 (L Thirimanne, 8.1), 22/4 (A Mathews, 11.5), 69/5 (D Chandimal, 20.4), 69/6 (N Dickwella, 23.1), 75/7 (D Perera, 25.2)
India bowling, 2nd innings
Bowlers Overs Maidens Runs given Wickets Economy
B Kumar 11 8 8 4 0.72
M Shami 9.3 4 34 2 3.57
U Yadav 5 0 25 1 5.00
R Jadeja 1 0 7 0 7.00

Man of the match: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, for his match figures of 38-13-96-8

Top scorer in the 1st Test match:

Virat Kohli [104* (119), 12×4 and 2×6]

What was the deciding factor?

Only 258.2 overs of play was possible over the five days and that number of overs proved insufficient to produce a result. A proper Test pitch at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata treated us to an exciting Test match which, however, was marred largely by inclement weather on days one and two and bad light on the other three days.

This was not entirely a boring draw and truth be told, we got an exciting finish to the 1st Test, thanks to India batting proactively in the post-lunch session on day five and declaring their innings after taking a 230-run lead. Virat Kohli played a counter-attacking knock which was necessary after India had been reduced to 281/7, with a lead of just 159 runs. The Indian captain finished with 104* (119), his 18th Test century and 11th as Test captain. Of the hundreds in his Test career, this will be remembered for the versatility shown by Kohli, who began slowly, got his eye in and then switched gears rapidly: before the lunch break, Kohli had scored 41 runs off 71 balls; in the post-lunch session, he scored 63 runs off 48 balls and changed the momentum of the match completely.

Sri Lanka, left with about 30 overs to negotiate, made a nervy start to their innings and made us think the unthinkable. Sadeera Samarawickrama chopped onto his stumps on the last ball of first over, which was bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Dimuth Karunaratne fell in a similar fashion in the fourth over. India, with an entirety of the last session at their disposal, might have just foreseen the extravagant result.

They came out of the tea interval all charged up and went for the kill. They made two more inroads within the first five overs of the restart. At 22/4 and with nearly an hour and a half still to play, an Indian victory had come into the picture. But Dinesh Chandimal and Niroshan Dickwella batted in a gutsy fashion and seemed to secure safety. They had put together 47 runs for the fifth wicket and in a quick time too (10 overs). But with Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowling extremely well and providing more than a manageable level of penetration, the conclusion couldn’t be arrived at yet. Dickwella and Chandimal were separated by Shami, whose sharp, reverse swinging delivery that tailed in got through the defence of the Sri Lankan captain and breathed a fresh injection of life into this Test match and more importantly the fifth day.

Dickwella, who had batted positively and struck four boundaries (two fours and two sixes), followed his captain to the pavilion nine balls later, with Bhuvneshwar trapping him in front. 69/4 quickly became 69/6 and then 75/7, but the rapidly diminishing natural light had the final say on proceedings and saved Sri Lanka from suffering an embarrassing and a shocking defeat. Bhuvneshwar finished with astonishing second-innings figures of 11-8-8-4 and he was well-complemented by Shami, who took 2/34.

Though Sri Lanka finished the Test match as the second-best team, they had the better of India for a majority of the five days. They bowled India out for 172 in the first innings after Chandimal had won the toss and chosen to field first. Led by Suranga Lakmal, the Lankan bowling attack harnessed the bowler-friendly conditions on the truncated first couple of days and made light work of a strong Indian batting line-up. The top order was dismissed cheaply and India were 50/5 at one stage, with only Cheteshwar Pujara showing character and nous of batting in testing, seaming conditions. India’s lower order showed resolve and helped India go past 150, which was estimated to be a good total, taking the pitch conditions into consideration.

Lakmal had taken us all by surprise with his incisive swing bowling, to which the Indian batsmen didn’t have an answer. He finished with 4/26 in 19 overs and to a fair degree, was well-supported by Lahiru Gamage, Dasun Shanaka and Dilruwan Perera, who took two wickets on the morning of day three to bring a conclusion to the Indian innings.

Sri Lanka replied strongly to India’s 172 by putting on 294 in their first innings. They had been 201/7 at one stage, but a gritty 67 from Rangana Herath propelled them closer to 300 and take a sizeable lead of 122 runs. The lead was big enough to worry India, particularly after their dismal batting display in the first innings, with Lokesh Rahul and Virat Kohli falling for ducks and Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane falling for single-digit scores.

But in the second innings, the Indian batsmen redeemed themselves to a large degree and this transformation helped the home team gain a psychological edge ahead of the second Test in Nagpur.

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