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IND vs SL 1st Test Day 4: Rangana Herath Spins Sri Lanka To Epic Win

By on August 15, 2015

Sri Lanka 183 (Mathews 64, Chandimal 59, Ashwin 6-46) and 367 (Chandimal 162, Mubarak 49, Thirimanne 44, Ashwin 4-114) beat India 375 (Dhawan 134, Kohli 103, Saha 60, Kaushal 5-40) and 112 (Herath 7-48, Kaushal 3-47) by 63 runs…

Never before had a target in excess of 100 been chased successfully in the fourth innings at Galle International Stadium. That telling statistic remained intact as hosts Sri Lanka, led by the most successful wicket-taker at the venue, Rangana Herath, sealed a remarkable victory over India by 63 runs on the fourth afternoon. Indian fans hoping for a win to add to the mood of celebration on the country’s 69th Independence Day were left sorely disappointed.

India started the day on 23/1, needing a further 153 runs to take a series lead. They collapsed, spectacularly. Herath bowled 18 unbroken overs for six wickets, moving past Bishan Singh Bedi to become Test cricket’s third most successful left-arm spinner as India subsided to 112. This spectacular victory was a fitting farewell to Kumar Sangakkara in his final appearance in Galle.

IND vs SL 1st Test Day 4: Rangana Herath

Credits: ESPN CricInfo

This will rank as one of Sri Lanka’s most famous wins, coming as it did from the depths of 5/3 and then 100/5 in their second innings, after conceding a lead of 192. On the third day it was Dinesh Chandimal’s remarkable counter-attacking 162 that had given Sri Lanka hope, and on the fourth it was Herath, who made a lead of 175 look like 300.

For India, this defeat can take pride of place alongside Barbados 1997, Jamaica 2002, Bangalore 2005, Mumbai and Durban 2006 and Old Trafford and Adelaide 2014. They had a great chance to win away from home, in the first match of a series, but failed. Virat Kohli, a fine batsman whose aggression as a captain has yet to produce a result in four Tests, will have a tough time convincing his critics that playing five bowlers is the way forward.

The rot set in during the morning when India lost six wickets, including a crippling 22/3 in the first hour, to limp into the lunch break on 78/7 and hoping for a miracle from Ajinkya Rahane and R Ashwin. There wasn’t much extravagant turn and neither did the fourth-day surface play any tricks, but Sri Lanka’s attacking spinners, chiefly the mesmerising Herath, combined to absolutely smash India’s chase.

Herath’s left-arm spin was always going to be crucial given his success in Galle – 61 wickets in 12 Tests before this one – and true to history, the 37-year-old ripped the heart out of India’s second innings with the wickets of Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha and Harbhajan Singh, Ashwin, Rahane and to claim 7/48 – his best innings bowling figure at his favourite ground.

Wicketless in the India’s first innings, Herath bowled unchanged for 11 overs in the first session, taking 4/24 in that time while his partner, the offspinner Tharindu Kaushal, picked up Kohli and an oddly subdued Shikhar Dhawan as Sri Lanka made a stirring comeback. From the time Angelo Mathews called on Kaushal to bowl the 22nd over, it was all spin for the rest of the day.

Ishant can be excused for striding forward to one that didn’t turn, but the manner of the rest of the wickets was damning. Rohit misread Herath’s turn and was bowled through the gate for 4; Saha stepped out and missed; Kohli worked Kaushal with the turn straight to forward short leg; and a well-set Dhawan, trying to go against the spin, chipped a return catch back to the same bowler. For a captain and team management trying to convince Indian fans that five bowlers is the way to win Tests, having their batsmen perform so meekly is not impressing anyone.

It took Herath one ball to dismiss the nightwatchman Ishant for 10, a wicket that came as India crawled to seven runs in the first eight overs of the morning. Dhawan appeared content to play out over after over, even though he lost the two Sharmas to Herath. His first run came after 36 balls and 53 minutes into the day, and only when he saw his skipper Kohli excellently taken at forward short leg by Kaushal Silva did Dhawan start to look fidgety.

On 28, he too skipped out and was well taken by a diving Kaushal off his own bowling. Enter Saha, who reprised his horrible Adelaide dismissal of last December by coming out and stabbing at Herath, with the score 65/6, to be stumped by Chandimal. When Harbhajan Singh became Herath’s fifth victim, caught at short leg by Silva, India had slumped to 67/7 in 32.2 overs.

Herath wasted little time adding a sixth wicket after lunch, with Ashwin chipping to mid-on, and soon after the total crossed 100 he produced a lovely delivery that Rahane (36) edged to slip. Amit Mishra, who boasts a first-class double-century, played a couple of pleasing strokes before he was last out to Kaushal, whose 3/43 from 17.5 overs complimented Herath’s success.

Source: Times Of India

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