Bowlers snuff life out of Lanka

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 25 Nov 2017 10:53:41

By Paritosh Pramanik


Nov 24,

PLAYING also-rans in the first Test, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja reclaimed their turf in style to snuff life out of a poor Sri Lanka. On a wicket, billed as preparation for the South Africa tour, the spin duo turned up to continue their dominance. India muscled the visitors for 205 in the first innings on the first day of the second Test.

The Jamtha pitch, despite having a tinge of green on it, failed to help much as the ball hardly moved in the morning. It did not even turn whole day but Ashwin and Jadeja used their craft to snare seven wickets between them to restrict a defensive Lanka.At stumps, India were 11 for one from eight overs, still trailing by 194 runs. Murali Vijay (2) and Cheteshwar Pujara (2) were at crease after KL Rahul (7) returned cheaply.

Despite official request from the team management, India did not get the pitch of their liking. Sri Lankan coach Nick Pothas and Jadeja, who took three wickets, both were unhappy with the wicket. “There was hardly any help from the wicket. The ball hardly moved or spun,” said Pothas while Jadeja said, “Despite looking green, the bowlers did not get any help from it.”Yet, Ishant Sharma, included in place of an injured Mohd Shami, used all his experience to take three wickets (14-3-37-3).If Ishant took both the openers, spinners were in charge from then on bowling on the mark.

Ashwin (28.1-7-67-4) was impressive in his approach while Jadeja (24-4-56-3) was threatening with his drifters and straighter ones.. The two bowled a total of 49 overs, 19 in tandem after tea, and took five wickets for 50 runs during that period. Ashwin took the first wicket of the series when he fooled Lahiru Thirimanne with a straighter one. Thirimanne, who took 58 balls for his nine runs, tried to slog sweep but missed the line as the ball crashed into his off stump. It was a fine performance by Ashwin, who had taken 12 wickets in a match at the same venue two years back. He had bamboozled the visiting South Africans but that was a rank turner and was termed as a ‘dust bowl’.

Unlike in 2015, this VCA Jamtha track was not a dust bowl. Rather it hardly helped the bowlers — neither seamers nor seamers. Two years after that win, 730 days to be precise, Ashwin once again showed his ability to bowl on any surface. Both the spinners proved their captain Virat Kohli wrong who had, on the match eve, said that spinners would come into play only after third day’s play.

Barring opener Karunaratne and captain Dinesh Chandimal (57), the Islanders were timid while facing the Indian spinners as their last six wickets fell for just 45 runs.Karunaratne and Chandimal were the only two batsmen to show some courage against the Indian spin duo. They added 62 runs for the fourth wicket but after the Lankan opener’s departure, it was all India’s game.

Karunaratne was a slow starter. He consumed deliveries, played with a dead bat, and crawled to 21 from 82 deliveries at lunch. After resumption, he tried to open up and hit two boundaries, one off Jadeja and then from Umesh Yadav’s over pitched delivery to move to 43. He completed his lazy looking half century from 132 deliveries. However, when it looked that the left-handed batsman would carry Lankan innings, Ishant trapped him in front. Local boy Umesh, who played his first international match at home, went wicketless but bowled his heart out.