A dominant performance from India in the first test has put the hosts on the back foot early in the series, the outcome quickly turning into a huge mismatch as Sri Lanka conceded a whopping-600 runs in the first innings.
At the end of the day, the outcome was no surprise given their rise to the top in the test rankings compared to a tumbling-Sri Lankan outfit that lacks a winning culture without the likes of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara who’ve both been a crucial part of their countries success for the past decade or so. There were some worrying signs to come out of that first test for the hosts, one of them being Rangana Herath’s lack of impact with the ball which allowed India to amass a big total over one and a half days. In India’s first innings, Herath finished with figures of 1/159 off his 40 overs, Nuwan Pradeep was Sri Lanka’s best performer with the ball picking up 6/132 in his 31 overs. It all went downhill from there as Sri Lanka couldn’t find the intensity to put up a fight in their first innings, by that point in time India had both tactically & physically won the battle with the result almost set in stone by the end of day three. There were small-glimpses of individual performances that threatened to keep Sri Lanka in the match, but India were quick to act on the likes of Tharanga and Mathews in the first innings, along with Dilruwan Perera who was stranded at the other end unbeaten on 92 at the end of the innings. Opener Dimuth Karunaratne played a gritty knock in their second innings, but luck just wasn’t on Sri Lanka’s side as he dragged one onto his stumps for 97. Losing Asela Gunaratne early on the first day was just one of many things that went horribly wrong for Sri Lanka at Galle, Stand-in skipper Rangana Herath also sustained a finger injury which restricted him in the second innings. It looks likely that their newly-named test captain Dinesh Chandimal is set to make his return, a huge upside for Sri Lanka ahead of this second test.
Hats off to Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara who put on a batting masterclass in India’s first innings, both batsman surpassed the 150-mark which allowed some free-flowing stroke play down the order. That inevitably set up that match there and then, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravi Ashwin and Hardik Pandya all added sizable contributions down the order as India had Sri Lanka check and mate as early as the first innings. Revisiting Shikhar Dhawan’s performance with the willow, he had been out of the test side for quite some time and was under the pump to score something of significance. Dhawan responded in the best way possible, the amount of times he found the boundary rope was ridiculous in such a short amount of time, eventually dismissed for 190 off just 168 deliveries which included 31 fours, capping off a brilliant knock to set up his side for the rest of the match. The job was already half-completed after that 600-run total, the rest of the pieces just had to fall into place over the next couple of days, it was like taking candy from a baby to put it bluntly. India trumped Sri Lanka in all the key areas of the contest, they were a lot more dangerous with the ball ind hand as Virat Kohli continued to set dangerous fields for his bowlers, and their batsman were looking to score runs compared to the opposition who’s main goal looked to be survival for the best part of both innings. Ravindra Jadeja was brilliant with the ball once again, picking up three wickets in both innings as he continues to peak in the ICC test bowling rankings (currently sitting at No. 1). Ravi Ashwin (No. 2 in the ICC test bowling rankings) was Jadeja’s partner in crime, he had little impact in the first innings but managed to follow it up with 3/65 in the second. Captain Virat Kohli notched up his seventeenth test ton with an unbeaten 103 in India’s second innings, it was an all-round near-flawless performance from a professional outfit.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Sri Lanka | 2nd test | Colombo
- Dilruwan Perera
- Dinesh Chandimal
- Nuwan Pradeep
- Dimuth Karunaratne
- Angelo Mathews
Top 5 fantasy picks | India | 2nd test | Colombo
- Shikhar Dhawan
- Virat Kohli
- Ravindra Jadeja
- Cheteshwar Pujara
- Ravi Ashwin
Team News | Sri Lanka
The hosts are set to welcome back test skipper Dinesh Chandimal who has recovered from pneumonia, Danushka Gunathilaka should be the man to make way for the returning Chandimal. Lahiru Thirimanne has been added to the squad for the second test in Colombo, his last test was in June 2016 against England. Asela Gunaratne sustained a broken finger early on day one in Galle, so it’s a possibility that Thirimanne gets the call up & enters the eleven straight away. Although given that Dhananjaya de Silva was picked in the initial test squad before the series, he may get the nod ahead of the incoming-Thirimanne. Rangana Herath is no certainty to play either, he sustained a finger injury late in the Galle test which has forced wristspinner Lakshan Sandakan to be added to the squad.
Sri Lanka (possible) – 1. Dimuth Karunaratne 2. Upul Tharanga 3. Kusal Mendis 4. Dinesh Chandimal (c) 5. Angelo Mathews 6. Lahiru Thirimanne/Dhananjaya de Silva 7. Niroshan Dickwella (wk) 8. Dilruwan Perera 9. Rangana Herath/Lakshan Sandakan 10. Nuwan Pradeep 11. Lahiru Kumara.
Team News | India
With news coming through that KL Rahul could be included for the second test after recovering from illness, India have a very-tough decision to make after both Shikhar Dhawan and Abhinav Mukund produced significant scores in Galle. You have to look at it from both perspectives, Dhawan scored a career-best 190 in the first innings, but it was Mukund who trumped his partner in the second innings with 81. Although Dhawan’s score was significantly bigger then Mukund’s, Mukund has been selected ahead of Dhawan in the past couple of test series which selectors might have to factor in. Kuldeep Yadav was a bit stiff to miss out, and given India’s performance in the first test he may be sidelined yet again.
India (possible) – 1 & 2. Shikhar Dhawan/Abhinav Mukund/KL Rahul 3. Cheteshwar Pujara 4. Virat Kohli (c) 5. Ajinkya Rahane 6. Ravi Ashwin 7. Wriddhiman Saha (wk) 8. Hardik Pandya 9. Ravindra Jadeja 10. Mohammed Shami 11. Umesh Yadav.