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IND vs SL 1st Test Day 2: Advantage India After Heady Second Day

By on August 13, 2015

Sri Lanka 183 and 5 for 2 (Ashwin 1-0, Mishra 1-1) trail India 375 (Dhawan 134, Kohli 103, Kaushal 5-134) by 187 runs…

India’s aspirations of winning their first series on Sri Lankan soil since 1993 assumed greater shape by the end of day two of the first Test in Galle, where the hosts were 5/2 down and trailing by 187 runs in their second innings.

Centuries to Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli, and later a maiden Test fifty to Wriddhiman Saha, had formed the bulk of India’s 375 and when R Ashwin and Amit Mishra bowled Sri Lanka’s openers for ducks in the first two overs of their second innings, the mood at Galle International Stadium was decidedly in India’s favour.

Any momentum Sri Lanka had taken from claiming the last six Indian wickets in 43.4 overs, after it had taken them 64.3 overs to claim the third one, quickly dissipated with the loss of their openers. Kohli opted for spin with the new ball and was rewarded with Ashwin and Mishra removing Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva without scoring, both batsmen misreading the turn.

IND vs SL 1st Test Day 2: Shikhar Dhawan

Credits: ESPN CricInfo

This last-minute drama came after contrasting morning and afternoon sessions, the first of which India maneuvered through without losing a wicket. From the perch of 255 for 2 and riding on their third-highest partnership on Sri Lankan soil, India then slipped to 375 all out with four wickets falling in the second session and the remaining four half an hour before stumps.

With the commanding presence of the 16th century Dutch fort in the backdrop, Dhawan and Kohli had buttressed India’s presence in the match by coasting through the morning without hassle, but post lunch the offspinner Tharindu Kaushal hit back with the wickets of Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane (0) in the space of three deliveries.

Then, once the new ball was taken with India’s total at 284/4, seamer Nuwan Pradeep removed Dhawan and Ashwin in successive overs to expose the bowlers.

Until his moment of indiscretion just 17 minutes before tea, Dhawan had batted with poise and admirable presence of mind for a fine 134 from 271 deliveries, playing the lead in a stand of 227 that erased the deficit and set the stage for India to pile on the lead.

Usually a stroke-maker capable of scoring briskly, Dhawan took over as chief accumulator while shunning his repertoire of expansive shots and instead relying on flicks and drives to march to his fourth Test hundred.

Before today, the longest time at the crease Dhawan had spent was 211 balls, back in Auckland in early 2014. Prior to that, he had never faced more than 195 balls in an innings, and only twice had he exceeded 145.

Kohli’s 103 was his 11th century – and fourth in six innings as Test captain – and the determination with which he snapped an international century drought was pleasing, though he will rue a silly sweep shot against Kaushal, who had bowled 101 deliveries without a wicket. Enter Rahane, who lasted five balls before he failed to get bat on a flighted delivery from Kaushal and was rapped on the pads in front of the stumps.

India’s lead at the time was 72. A couple of full tosses from Kaushal helped Saha settle in between some deliveries that spun past the bat, and slowly an alliance of 37 was formed. Dhawan did not need to change his approach, because solidity and judgement outside the off stump were what had taken him past his century already.

Thus it was surprising when he almost lazily pushed at Pradeep and dragged the ball onto his stumps. Not long after, Pradeep hit Ashwin’s off stump to leave India at 302/6.

After tea, Kaushal bowled Harbhajan Singh (14) and Mishra (10) in quick time but Sri Lanka were held up by Saha, who played a sensible innings until he was incorrectly given caught behind when the ball hit his helmet. Kaushal ended the innings at 375 with the wicket of Varun Aaron to end with 5/134, his second Test five-wicket haul.

Within moments, however, Sri Lanka’s mood was flattened by Ashwin and Mishra.

Source: Times of India

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