Kolkata, November 20, 2017
Sri Lanka’s lower order batsmen defied Indian fast bowlers and forced a draw to end the match at 75 for seven on a thrilling last day of the first Test at Eden Gardens.
After skipper Virat Kohli smashed his 18th Test century that propelled India to 352 for eight and enabled them to declare, pacemen Bhuvneshwar, Shami and Yadav knocked out seven Sri Lankan wickets before the game ended in a stalemate.
Prospects of an exciting end to the Test loomed at the start of play on Monday. After Pujara and Rahane fell cheaply, Kohli played like a man possessed after a cautious start. He later hammered bowlers to all parts of the ground. His dominance can be seen from the scorecard that none of the batsmen from Rahane onwards to number nine
Bhuvaneshwar returned with a double digit score. Number ten batter Shami stayed long enough to help his captain reach his three-figure mark, that took his overall international tally to 50 centuries, including One-Day International tons.
Sri Lanka began their second innings with hopes of escaping the Test with a draw. Rather depressing dip in their fortunes for they dominated the better part of this match after bundling out India cheaply in the first innings.
In seven overs before tea, India dispatched openers Sadeera Samarawickrama and Dimuth Karunaratne. After tea, the rampaging pacemen then dismissed Angelo Mathews and Lahiru Thirimanne.
Skipper Dinesh Chandimal defended well while Niroshan Dickwella played his usual aggressive style. They defied India with a 47-run partnership.
They frustrated India and when Dickwella backed away from facing Shami the exchanges between rival players flared so much the umpires had to calm their tempers.
Shami and Bhuvi then bowled fast, furious and lots of reverse swing to decimate the visitors’ middle. Their tail ender hung on fading light and prevented India from blowing taking the remaining three wickets.
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).