Colombo: The writing was always on the wall coming into the fourth day of the second Test between India and Sri Lanka on a Sinhalese Sports Club wicket which was expected to play unpredictably. And it took Virat Kohli and his boys four hours and 35 minutes to wrap up the Lankan innings on the penultimate day to win the match by an innings and 53 runs to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. As expected, it was once again Ravindra Jadeja who wreaked havoc on the fourth afternoon.
Not only did Jadeja finish with his ninth five-wicket haul in an innings, but it was also his second five-for outside India. It was only poetic justice that he was handed the Man of the Match award for finishing with 7 wickets in the game and 70 crucial runs in India’s only innings in the second Test.
Going into the lunch break, Dimuth Karunaratne and Angelo Mathews had shown good heads on their shoulders as they kept mixing caution and aggression. In fact, it looked like India could well be forced to come back and bat a second time after enforcing the follow-on on Saturday. But that wasn’t to be as Jadeja had other plans going into the post-lunch session.
With the Karunaratne and Mathews partnership going strong in the opening session — in fact Karunaratne also registered his fourth Test hundred in the second innings of a Test match on Sunday morning — Kohli turned to Jadeja immediately in the post-lunch session and Jadeja did not disappoint. Pitching the ball with the accuracy of a shooter, Jadeja finally got one to jump after pitching and the rest was done by vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane.
Karunaratne had to walk back for a well-made 141. But the wicket also meant that the floodgates were opened and Jadeja sent back Mathews in the very next over, caught brilliantly by Saha. The ball jumped and bounced and Saha completed a quality catch behind the stumps. With Mathews gone for 36, Sri Lanka’s score read 315/6.
Niroshan Dickwella now had Dilruwan Perera as company and although the spinning all-rounder had shown quality in the first Test and in the first innings on Saturday, a wrong decision saw him step down the track and get comprehensively stumped by Saha for just 4. But Dickwella found another partner in Dhananjaya de Silva and the tailender did try his luck a bit before Jadeja once again struck and sent him back for 17.
With Sri Lanka’s score reading 343/8, Rangana Herath joined Dickwella in the middle and the two decided to step on the accelerator and kept hitting some lusty blows before Hardik Pandya turned out to be the man with the golden arm and got Dickwella (31) to guide one straight to Rahane at gully.
After that, it was just a matter of time before Ashwin sent back Nuwan Pradeep for 1 as Virat Kohli and his boys started to celebrate.
Earlier in the first session, Karunaratne and Pushpakumara started really well before the nightwatchman suddenly decided to play a reverse drive off Ashwin and was cleaned up. Having done well in the first hour, a rush of blood shot saw the spinner get out for 16. Not only did it give the Indians a foothold in the game, but also brought a spring in the steps of the Indians as they immediately sent back skipper Dinesh Chandimal.
Coming in with the score reading 238/3, the batsman edged one to Rahane at first slip and the India vice-captain picked a brilliant catch inches off the ground.
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