Poor fielding, solid SL batting deny hosts 2-0 series win

India batting, 1st innings (India won the toss and chose to bat first)
Batsmen Dismissal Runs 4s 6s Strike rate
M Vijay stumped Dickwella, bowled Sandakan 155 (267) 13 0 58.05
S Dhawan caught Lakmal, bowled Perera 23 (35) 4 0 65.71
C Pujara caught Samarawickrama, bowled Gamage 23 (39) 4 0 58.97
V Kohli (c) lbw Sandakan 243 (287) 25 0 84.66
A Rahane stumped Dickwella, bowled Sandakan 1 (5) 0 0 20.00
R Sharma caught Dickwella, bowled Sandakan 65 (102) 7 2 63.72
R Ashwin caught Perera, bowled Gamage 4 (16) 0 0 25.00
W Saha (wk) not out 9 (19) 1 0 47.36
R Jadeja not out 5 (4) 1 0 125.00
Batsmen who didn’t bat: M Shami, I Sharma
Extras: 8 (7 no-balls, 1 leg bye)
India’s total: 536/7 dec. in 127.5 overs, at 4.19 runs per over
Fall of wickets: 42/1 (S Dhawan, 9.6), 78/2 (C Pujara, 20.2), 361/3 (M Vijay, 85.6), 365/4 (A Rahane, 87.3), 500/5 (R Sharma, 117.5), 519/6 (R Ashwin, 122.4), 523/7 (V Kohli, 125.3)
Sri Lanka bowling, 1st innings
Bowlers Overs Maidens Runs given Wickets Economy
S Lakmal 21.2 2 80 0 3.75
L Gamage 25.3 7 95 2 3.72
D Perera 31.1 0 145 1 4.65
L Sandakan 33.5 1 167 4 4.93
D de Silva 16 0 48 0 3.00
Sri Lanka batting, 1st innings (trail by 536 runs)
Batsmen Dismissal Runs 4s 6s Strike rate
D Karunaratne caught Saha, bowled Shami 0 (1) 0 0 0.00
D Perera lbw Jadeja 42 (54) 9 0 77.77
D de Silva lbw Ishant 1 (14) 0 0 7.14
A Mathews caught Saha, bowled Ashwin 111 (268) 14 2 41.41
D Chandimal (c) caught Dhawan, bowled Ishant 164 (361) 21 1 45.42
S Samarawickrama caught Saha, bowled Ishant 33 (61) 7 0 54.09
R Silva caught Dhawan, bowled Ashwin 0 (3) 0 0 0.00
N Dickwella (wk) bowled Ashwin 0 (4) 0 0 0.00
S Lakmal caught Saha, bowled Shami 5 (13) 1 0 38.46
L Gamage lbw Jadeja 1 (16) 0 0 6.25
L Sandakan not out 0 (20) 0 0 0.00
Extras: 16 (2 no-balls, 5 leg byes, 4 byes, 5 pen)
Sri Lanka’s total: 373/10 in 135.3 overs, at 2.75 runs per over
Fall of wickets: 0/1 (D Karunaratne, 0.1), 14/2 (D de Silva, 5.1), 75/3 (D Perera, 18.4), 256/4 (A Mathews, 97.6), 317/5 (S Samarawickrama, 116.4), 318/6 (R Silva, 117.4), 322/7 (N Dickwella, 119.2), 331/8 (S Lakmal, 122.4), 343/9 (L Gamage, 126.5), 373/10 (D Chandimal, 135.3)
India bowling, 1st innings
Bowlers Overs Maidens Runs given Wickets Economy
M Shami 26 6 85 2 3.26
I Sharma 29.3 7 98 3 3.32
R Jadeja 45 13 86 2 1.91
R Ashwin 35 8 90 3 2.57
India batting, 2nd innings (lead by 163 runs)
Batsmen Dismissal Runs 4s 6s Strike rate
M Vijay caught Dickwella, bowled Lakmal 9 (12) 2 0 75.00
S Dhawan stumped Dickwella, bowled Sandakan 67 (91) 5 1 73.62
A Rahane caught Sandakan, bowled Perera 10 (37) 2 0 27.02
C Pujara caught Mathews, bowled de Silva 49 (66) 5 0 74.24
V Kohli (c) caught Lakmal, bowled Gamage 50 (58) 3 0 86.20
R Sharma not out 50 (49) 5 0 102.04
R Jadeja not out 4 (4) 0 0 100.00
Batsmen who didn’t bat: R Ashwin, W Saha, M Shami, I Sharma
Extras: 7 (3 no-balls, 1 wide, 2 leg byes, 1 bye)
India’s total: 246/5 dec. in 52.2 overs, at 4.70 runs per over
Fall of wickets: 10/1 (M Vijay, 2.1), 29/2 (A Rahane, 13.4), 106/3 (C Pujara, 30.6), 144/4 (S Dhawan, 35.2), 234/5 (V Kohli, 50.4)
Sri Lanka bowling, 2nd innings
Bowlers Overs Maidens Runs given Wickets Economy
S Lakmal 14 3 60 1 4.28
L Gamage 12.2 1 48 1 3.89
D Perera 11 0 54 1 4.90
D de Silva 5 0 31 1 6.20
L Sandakan 10 0 50 1 5.00
Sri Lanka batting, 2nd innings (target: 410)
Batsmen Dismissal Runs 4s 6s Strike rate
D Karunaratne caught Saha, bowled Jadeja 13 (46) 1 0 28.26
S Samarawickrama caught Rahane, bowled Shami 5 (15) 0 0 33.33
D de Silva retired hurt 119 (219) 15 1 54.33
S Lakmal bowled Jadeja 0 (3) 0 0 0.00
A Mathews caught Rahane, bowled Jadeja 1 (20) 0 0 5.00
D Chandimal (c) bowled Ashwin 36 (90) 2 0 40.00
R Silva not out 74 (154) 11 0 48.05
N Dickwella (wk) not out 44 (72) 6 0 61.11
Batsmen who didn’t bat: D Perera, L Gamage, L Sandakan
Extras: 7 (1 no-ball, 1 leg bye, 5 byes)
Sri Lanka’s total: 299/5 in 103 overs, at 2.90 runs per over
Fall of wickets: 14/1 (S Samarawickrama, 5.5), 31/2 (D Karunaratne, 15.1), 31/3 (S Lakmal, 15.4), 35/4 (A Mathews, 21.6), 147/5 (D Chandimal, 54.6), 205/5 (D de Silva (R.H), 75.6)
India bowling, 2nd innings
Bowlers Overs Maidens Runs given Wickets Economy
I Sharma 13 2 32 0 2.46
M Shami 15 6 50 1 3.33
R Ashwin 35 3 126 1 3.60
R Jadeja 38 13 81 3 2.13
M Vijay 1 0 3 0 3.00
V Kohli 1 0 1 0 1.00

Man of the match: Virat Kohli, for scoring 293 runs in the Test match; Kohli surpassed the previous highest tally of runs in a Test match by an Indian captain (Sunil Gavaskar 289)

Top scorer in the 3rd Test match:

Virat Kohli [243 (287); 25×4]

What was the deciding factor?

Sri Lanka produced arguably their best batting performance of the series in the last Test, to walk away with a respectable 1-0 series defeat. Angelo Mathews (111), Dinesh Chandimal (164)—in the first innings—and Dhananjaya de Silva (119*) in the second innings, struck impressive and timely centuries to deny India a victory after they had posted 536/7 declared batting first. Though Sri Lanka batted really well in both the innings, the Kotla pitch remained their friend even on day five.

The pitch didn’t deteriorate at all and as a batsman, you were able to get in and not feel unsettled at any stage. Barely did a ball misbehave and as a bowling team, creating wicket-taking opportunities was difficult unless a batsman sold himself or played a rank bad shot. Sri Lankan batsmen, once they got in, enjoyed the situation they were batting in.

At stumps on day four, India seemed to be in sight of a victory with Sri Lanka three down for 31, chasing 410 runs for a victory. But Dhananjaya’s solid innings on day five, when he found the right balance between attack and defence and also received great support from captain Chandimal and debutant Roshen Silva, went a long way towards Sri Lanka drawing the 3rd Test. Dhananjaya went on to make his third Test century and retired hurt for 119* with a glute muscle complaint. But his departure didn’t affect Sri Lanka negatively and Roshen Silva (74*) and Niroshan Dickwella (44*) batted through to stumps, having shared a 94-run partnership.

India had to work extremely hard for a Test win against South Africa a couple of years ago at the Feroz Shah Kotla. They had to bowl 143.1 overs to take 10 South African wickets in the fourth innings. The 3rd Test against Sri Lanka was shaping to be a similar marathon for the Indian bowlers and fielders.

At lunch on the final day, with Sri Lanka at 119/4, India did have their work cut out. But they will have felt that dismissing Chandimal, who had held the innings together for his team in the second and third Tests, could trigger a collapse similar to the first innings in Delhi (Sri Lanka lost 7/117 after Mathews was dismissed following his 181-run, fourth-wicket stand with Chandimal).

Virat Kohli shuffled his bowlers around and each one of them tried his utmost, but the combinations (Mohammed Shami-Ishant Sharma, Shami-Ravindra Jadeja and Jadeja-Ravichandran Ashwin) he opted for didn’t bring wickets in clusters. And, while Sri Lanka grew in confidence every hour, believing that they can bat their way through the day, India saw their confidence and will to fight disappear slowly.

From India’s perspective, they let themselves down with their fielding and catching. Mathews was dropped as many as four times (thrice behind the stumps and once at mid-off) in the first innings, with Virat Kohli giving the former Sri Lankan skipper a second life when he was only on 6. Mathews was dropped a couple of more times in his 90s and once after he reached his eighth Test century.  Obviously, India will be disappointed with their fielding display, while slip catching has to be a major concern ahead of the three-Test series against South Africa in South Africa.

In the end, though, this counts as another Test series win for India, who, as a result, have now equalled the record for the most consecutive Test series victories (9, along with Australia).

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