India laid the perfect platform for a thrilling win against Sri Lanka with Virat Kohli scoring his 50th international century before Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar rocked the Sri Lanka batting line-up and pushed for a victory in the first Test at the Eden Gardens. But bad light, intentional delays by Sri Lankan batsmen and time consumed in DRS reviews made sure that the Test ends in a draw as Sri Lanka reached 75 for 7 when umpires asked teams that light was no longer good to play.
India declared their second innings for 352 for the loss of eight wickets as Kohli scored an unbeaten 104 — his 18th Test hundred — and set a 231-run target for Sri Lanka. In the seven overs before Tea, Bhuvneshwar and Shami picked a wicket each to push Sri Lanka back. In the final session which lasted for one hour and 40 minutes, Indian bowlers picked up five more wickets and raised the hopes of the home team for a win. But Sri Lanka, who had dominated the game until the fifth day, were suddenly on the verge of losing it.
Bhuvneshwar picked up four wickets for eight runs and Shami picked up two wickets. Umesh Yadav chipped in with one wicket but the two spinners, Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin, did not pick a single wicket in the match — a first in the history of Indian Test cricket.
The pacers got seam movement and reverse swing they got wickets mainly by bowling the batsmen or getting them leg-before. The Test, which began with only 11.2 overs bowled on the first day and more play being lost on the second, went down to the wire with India needing to bowl out Sri Lanka in fading light.
The platform was laid by captain Kohli who battled struggling strokemaking at the start of his innings and later survived twice before finally punishing the Sri Lanka bowlers to reach his hundred. He got off the mark with a four down the leg side which came off the gloves.
He then drove with confidence and even survived a LBW call on on review. But after Lunch, despite India losing wickets at other end, he shifted gears and dashed from 70 to 104. He charged specifically against Suranga Lakmal, the pacer who had dominated the first session with four wickets.
A flurry of boundaries including two beautiful sixes — the second was one with which he brought up his ton — over covers were the highlight of his innings and a youthful celebration which was missing in some of his past centuries.
India would have loved to finish the match with similar celebrations but did not have enough time in a Test that was mostly lost to rain and bad light. India will now be hoping for a brighter Nagpur.