When Sri Lanka began the day, they would have thought that they are at par with India if not ahead. India were 329 for the loss of six wickets with Wriddhiman Saha and Hardik Pandya, new to the crease, being the two new batsmen. But, by the end of the day’s play, the hosts were staring down at yet another defeat in a Test match against India. They ended the second day at 19 for 1, following on, after being bowled out for 135 runs in the first innings. They are still 333 runs behind India’s first innings total of 487.
In between the start and end of play, it had been a another dominating performance by India as they added 158 runs for four wickets to their overnight score before the bowlers ran through the batting line-up with some top class seam bowling followed by typical spin.
Hardik Pandya scored his maiden Test century off just 86 balls, the fastest by an Indian coming to bat at number eight, and his 66-run stand for the final wicket with Umesh Yadav helped India score those 158 runs in first session, an extended one, on Sunday. He added a wicket and a catch to his batting performance.
Mohammed Shami bowled one of his best spells to pick two early wickets and later Kuldeep Yadav bamboozled Sri Lankan batsmen with his spin bowling, picking four wickets to leave the hosts tottering on a Pallakele pitch that is turning and assisting the spinners.
R Ashwin helped clean up the tail with his two wickets as India manged to take a big lead and though reluctantly, Kohli enforced the follow-on.
Dimuth Karunaratne and Upul Tharanga resisted for the initial part of the second innings but Umesh gave India the success by picking up the wicket of Tharanga whose dismal run continued in the series. Playing away from the body, Tharanga got an inside edge before the ball bounced and hit the stumps.
On a pitch where the Sri Lanka batsmen struggled, Pandya unleased an aggressive brand of cricket to score his hundred. After he lost his partner Saha early, Pandya added a runs with Kuldeep before shifting gears. At the stroke of scheduled Lunch, Pandya had scored his half-century and India had lost nine wickets.
In his innings, he took 26 runs in an over from Malinda Pushpakumara, hitting him for two fours and three sixes before a dot ball. This is the highest an Indian batsman has scored in a single over in Test cricket. His 108-run innings included nine fours and seven sixes — the most by an Indian outside home.
He was dismissed on the second ball after Lunch trying to play a big shot off Sandakan which became his fifth wicket. His maiden Test five-for came at a cost of 132 runs.
That is just three runs short of all the 11 Sri Lanka batsmen scored together. It never began on the right note for then as Shami, with no assistance from the pitch, bowled beautiful line and length to first get Tharanga caught behind before delivering a magical one to dismiss Karunaratne in a similar fashion.
Kusal Mendis’ end was brought by a brilliant throw from Kuldeep. He then unleashed his magic with the ball by dismissing Niroshan Dickwella, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan and Malinda Pushpakumara and Vishwa Fernando.