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Suranga Lakmal's Exploits Bring Back Memories of Benaud's 1959 Assault on India

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: November 16, 2017, 5:21 PM IST
Suranga Lakmal's Exploits Bring Back Memories of Benaud's 1959 Assault on India

Suranga Lakmal celebrates the fall of Virat Kohli's wicket with Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal (AFP Photo)

When Indian captain Virat Kohli lost the toss on the rain-hit first day of the Kolkata Test against Sri Lanka and was asked to bat first first by his opposite number Dinesh Chandimal, the hosts knew they were in for a test.

The conditions were overcast, the pitch had a fair amount of grass on it and Sri Lanka had two medium pacers who just had to put the ball in the right place for them to be effective with the new ball.

Suranga Lakmal, a veteran of 39 Tests who averages close to 45 with the ball, is hardly a name that would send shivers down the spine of the star-studded Indian batting line-up. Lakmal though knew what he had to do and was on the money from the word go.

The first delivery of innings, bowled by the Lankan paceman, pitch on the off stump and moved sharply away from KL Rahul. The right-handed opening batsman had to play at it and as a result edged the it straight to wicket-keeper Niroshan Dickwella.

Rahul was out for a golden duck and the visiting Sri Lankans were on cloud nine. Lakmal continued to bowl a probing line to the right-handed Cheteshwar Pujara and also managed to keep Shikhar Dhawan in check.

Dhawan, being a left-hander, was better placed to face the right arm pace duo of Lakmal and Lahiru Gamage. But his inability to adapt to Test cricket at its best was out in the open again. The southpaw attempted an expansive drive to a good length delivery bowled outside the off stump by Lakmal and managed to get an inside edge and was clean bowled.

Lakmal though wasn't done yet as he picked up the prized scalp of Indian skipper Virat Kohli next. Kohli, who had faced 10 balls till then, it seemed was expecting a delivery which would leave him outside the off stump. Lakmal though managed to bring the ball in to Kohli and the Indian captain was trapped in front of the wicket. Even a review could not save Kohli from registering his sixth duck in Test cricket.

By the time play was called off on the first day, Lakmal had bowled 6 overs and picked up 3 wickets without conceding a single run. This is only the second instance in Test cricket that a bowler has picked up three or more wickets in a Test innings without conceding a run. The innings though is yet to be completed and Lakmal stands the chance of conceding runs when play resumes on the second day.

The first instance was also against India as Australian leg-break bowled Richie Benaud picked three wickets without giving away a run at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground in Delhi in the winter of 1959.
First Published: November 16, 2017, 5:06 PM IST

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