IND vs SL 3rd Test Match: Ishant, Ashwin bowl India to rare series win

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September 1, 2015

Brief Scorecard: India 312 (Pujara 145*, Mishra 59, Prasad 4-100) and 274 (Ashwin 58, Rohit 50, Pradeep 4-62, Prasad 4-69) beat Sri Lanka 201 (Perera 55, Herath 49, Ishant 5-54) and 268 (Mathews 110, Perera 70, Ashwin 4-69, Ishant 3-32) by 117 runs

September 1, 2015

Brief Scorecard: India 312 (Pujara 145*, Mishra 59, Prasad 4-100) and 274 (Ashwin 58, Rohit 50, Pradeep 4-62, Prasad 4-69) beat Sri Lanka 201 (Perera 55, Herath 49, Ishant 5-54) and 268 (Mathews 110, Perera 70, Ashwin 4-69, Ishant 3-32) by 117 runs

The victorious India team pose the trophy, Sri Lanka v India, 3rd Test, SSC, Colombo, 5th day, September 1, 2015 © AFP

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA – A gritty century from Angelo Mathews and a sparkling fifty from Kusal Perera offered Sri Lanka a glimmer of hope of saving, perhaps even winning, the third Test in Colombo on the fifth day, but R Ashwin (4 for 69) and Ishant Sharma (3 for 32) removed the two batsmen in quick succession as India claimed a 117-run victory on Tuesday (September 1).

With the result, India sealed a come-from-behind 2-1 series victory, only the third time India have come back from 0-1 down to do so. It was also India's first series win in Sri Lanka in 22 years, their first overseas series win after West Indies in 2011, and Virat Kohli's first series win as captain.

It took India only five overs after tea to pick up the four remaining wickets. The new ball was taken straightaway and, with it, Ishant produced the breakthrough India were desperately looking for at the start of the day, trapping Mathews lbw for 110, and picking up his 200th Test wicket in the process. His 240-ball vigil included 13 fours, but there was little fight after that as India mopped up the tail with ease.

Earlier, if Sri Lanka were happy to score at a snail's pace during the first session, the second began in complete contrast, the batters finding a middle ground between defence and attack. Mathews and Perera pushed for ones and twos and hit the occasional boundary, and the run rate picked up considerably.

There were no demons on the pitch, especially with the old ball, but if the crinkles on Virat Kohli's forehead were anything to go by, India's patience was being tested. After all, only a match ago, Sri Lanka had collapsed spectacularly.

One by one, the milestones were ticked: Sri Lanka's 200, a half-century in both innings on debut by Perera and a century for Mathews. At 242 for 5, Sri Lanka needed 144 runs in a little more than a session and the situation looked bright, but Perera's (70) ill-advised sweep of Ashwin meant another hammer blow, ending a 135-run partnership – followed by yet another needless, and ugly, send-off – with Mathews the only frontline batsman left.

Ishant Sharma is greeted by team-mates for achieving his 200th wicket, that of Angelo Mathews, Sri Lanka v India, 3rd Test, SSC, Colombo, 5th day, September 1, 2015

When the day’s play started, with India seeking seven wickets and Sri Lanka chasing 319 more runs on a scuffed up pitch, it was a no-brainer that the batsmen would have the much tougher ask.

But Kaushal Silva (27), it seemed, entertained hopes of a victory, trying to pull Umesh Yadav in just the fourth over of the day but only succeeding in giving Cheteshwar Pujara an easy catch at midwicket.

Though Ashwin would wish his throw had hit the stumps when Mathews gave India a chance to run him out in the 25th over, it was India's pace bowlers calling all the shots and not letting the noose on Sri Lanka loosen. Just ask Lahiru Thirimanne, who took blows on his helmet, forearm and gloves.

But while Thirimanne didn't inspire much confidence at the crease, he did survive for a while, reaching double digits after 37 balls. And with half an hour to go for the lunch break, it seemed Sri Lanka might be able to walk away relatively unscathed.

However, the introduction of Ashwin meant that would only be a pipe dream as KL Rahul superbly caught Thirimanne at silly point off the leading edge.


Courtesy: Wisden India

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