Review: Ind vs SL: 1st Test: Indian Pacers Wreck Havoc On The Final Day
By CricShots - Nov 20, 2017 12:55 pm
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Indian team

Most of the touring teams to India prepare to tackle the prowess of the lethal Indian spinners. And it is the Indian spinners that the foreign batsmen fear the most. But the first Test between India and Sri Lanka proved that Indian pacers proved that if the condition is right, they can be even more fearsome.

The Kolkata pitch offered a lot of support to the pacers, and the conditions were overcast throughout, which was an added advantage for the pacemen. As a result of that, 35 wickets that fell in the entire Test match, 32 were claimed by the fast bowlers. The rest were taken by Dilruwan Perera and Rangana Herath. This is second highest no. of wickets taken by pacers in a Test in India.

But the most surprising thing in the complete match was that Indian spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja couldn’t even manage to take a single wicket in the match. It has happened for the first time that Indian spinners went wicketless in a Test at home. Taking nothing away from the Indian spinners, they bowled just 10 overs in the entire match.

However, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami had a wonderful match as the former claimed 8/96 in the match and this is also the first time that he picked two four-wicket hauls in a Test. Shami closed the match with six wickets.

On the other hand, Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s 50th international ton set up a charming conclusion to the Kolkata Test. It helped India declare at 352 for 8 and set Sri Lanka 231 to win at Eden Gardens. India’s pacers, Bhuvneshwar, Shami and Umesh Yadav, then found conventional seam movement and reverse swing to rattle-up Sri Lanka’s middle order in a dramatic fifth-day finish. Somehow, Sri Lanka prevented India from blowing their house down, with three wickets in hand.

In seven tentative overs prior to tea, Sri Lanka lost their openers Sadeera Samarawickrama and Dimuth Karunaratne. Bhuvi and Shamu were bowling way above par which made us feel at one point that Indian can win the game as well. First-innings half-centurions Angelo Mathews and Lahiru Thirimanne were also dismissed soon after tea, exposing an out-of-form middle order.

Lankan skipper Dinesh Chandimal and Niroshan Dickwella somehow manage t have a check on India’s momentum with a flashy 47-run partnership. But, soon Shami went through Chandimal’s defenses with a sharp inswinger and knocked into his middle stump. Three middle-order wickets in 28 balls gave India a ray f hope, but in the end, bad light put an end to a riveting Test.

Talking about Kohli’s 18th Test century, it was a classy effort. Sri Lanka’s seamers were looking for wickets early on Day 5, and rightly bowling full, but with hardly any swing, Kohli met the ball as early as possible as he drove and flicked joyfully. He made 46 runs off 26 balls after the 80th over.

Sri Lanka, though, dominated the majority of the first two sessions on the final day, thanks to the appreciable lateral movement from Suranga Lakmal. He produced the ball of the morning to have Cheteshwar Pujara, who became the ninth player to bat on all five days of a Test, caught at gully.

On Day 5, Sri Lanka needed 231 runs to win. After ordinary first innings with the bat, Virat Kohli and co. rose to the moment, and smashed 352/8. The Indian bowlers took the match really close as the match ended with Sri Lanka reeling at 75/7. But, unfortunately for India that it ended in a draw.

Brief Scores: Sri Lanka – 294 (Herath 67, Mathews 52, Thirimanne 51, Bhuvneshwar 4-88, Shami 4-100) and 75 for 7 (Bhuvneshwar 4-8) drew with India – 172 (Pujara 52, Lakmal 4-26) and 352 for 8 dec. (Kohli 104*, Dhawan 94, Rahul 79, Shanaka 3-76, Lakmal 3-93)