Losing the Test series 1-0 instead of 2-0 is something skipper Dinesh Chandimal will happily take after coming out second fiddle to Virat Kohli and boys right through the series. But Chandimal’s boys reserved the best for the last day of the Test series and the Test specialists can now definitely return home with their heads held high. The Lankans lost just two wickets after being 3 down in the first 15 overs of the second innings that were bowled on Tuesday.
The Lankan batsmen showed great resolution and grit to bat out the day and secure a draw as the players ended play at 4:01pm — 35 minutes before the scheduled close of play after both teams felt that the game was headed for a draw. In fact, it was impressive to see how Kohli walked up to debutant Roshen Silva (77*) and congratulated him for batting 3 hours and 3 minutes while the otherwise aggressive Niroshan Dickwella (44*) batted more than 1hr and 30 mins.
Earlier, it was Dhananjaya de Silva (retired hurt on 119) and Chandimal (36) who stood ground and kept the Indian bowlers at bay even though the Indian bowlers kept going at the Lankan batsmen with tight lines. The fielding did let the Indians down again, with Wriddhiman Saha missing an easy stumping of Dickwella, but more important was the lion-hearted effort of the Lankan batsmen.
It was only poetic justice that Dhananjaya got a century — his third of the career — on a day when the whole of India was waiting to celebrate India sealing the series 2-0. The pitch was playing flat and unlike the typical Kotla wicket, but then, the pressure of the Indians continuously attacking the batsmen was a challenge on its own.
Chandimal did lose his cool and was cleaned up as he danced down the track and looked to whip Ashwin through the leg side, but Dhananjaya continued with Roshen for company. The Indians did sniff blood later when Dhananjaya retired hurt, but Dickwella was on the money from the start and he was not letting this opportunity go a-begging to display his batting skills. He did play one shot too many, but as they say, fortune favours the brave.
First Published: December 6, 2017, 4:11 PM IST