Virat Kohli returns to form and four other takeaways from first Sri Lanka vs India Galle Test

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Player of the Match: Shikhar Dhawan.

India swept to a 1-0 lead in the three-match Test series against Sri Lanka after they cruised to a comfortable 304-run win in the first Test at Galle.

Here, we have a look at five takeaways from the match.

DHAWAN RETURNS TO TESTS IN STYLE

Before this series, opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan hadn’t featured in India’s last 11 Tests. An injury to Murali Vijay saw the left-hander added to the squad and with illness forcing KL Rahul to sit out of the Galle Test, Dhawan found a place in the playing XI.

The 31-year-old made full use of the opportunity as he played a blinder of an innings, scoring 190 off just 168 deliveries on day one. Dhawan’s innings put the Indian team on the front foot and unsurprisingly, he was named as the Player of the Match.

With Abhinav Mukund scoring 81 in the second innings, the Indian team will have a decision to make on what the opening combination will be once Rahul is available for selection.

PUJARA CONTINUES SUPERB RUN OF FORM

Cheteshwar Pujara was dropped for the third Test against West Indies in August 2016 after a poor run of form. He returned to the line-up in the next Test but did not get to bat in a rain-affected draw.

Then came the series against New Zealand at home and after exhibiting good form in the Duleep Trophy, Pujara notched up three fifties and a century against the Kiwis. Since then, the Saurashtra batsman hasn’t looked back.

A knock of 153 in India’s first innings at Galle was Pujara’s fifth century in his last 12 Tests. In his last 14 Tests, Pujara has scored 1484 runs at an average of 64.52.

PRADEEP SHINES

Despite it not being a memorable match for the Sri Lankan team, fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep impressed as he took career-best bowling figures of 6-132 in India’s first innings.

While the other Sri Lankan bowlers struggled to trouble the Indian batsmen, Pradeep caused them some problems once he got into his rhythm.

What was most impressive about the right-arm pacer’s wickets was that he managed to dismiss four out of India’s top five batsmen.

KOHLI AMONG THE RUNS IN TESTS AGAIN

Virat Kohli had a superb time in the longest format of the game from the start of the tour to the West Indies last year as he notched up four double centuries in eight months. But then came a disappointing series for him against Australia where he managed just 46 runs in five innings.

In this Test, the Indian skipper had a disappointing start as he was dismissed for just three in the first innings. He came back strongly in the second innings though as he scored an unbeaten 103 to help the visitors post a convincing victory.

The knock also helped push Kohli’s average to 50.03 which means that he currently averages over 50 in all three formats of the game at international level.

DISAPPOINTING PERFORMANCE FROM SRI LANKA

While India came into the series as huge favourites, many expected Sri Lanka to put-up more of a fight than they did in this Test.

Injuries to Asela Gunaratne and later Rangana Herath didn’t help, but conceding 840 runs for 13 wickets in the match and managing scores of just 291 and 245 is not something the Sri Lankan team will look back at with much fondness.

The hosts will definitely have to put in a much-improved performance if they are to get the better of a strong Indian line-up in this series.

Most popular

India take 1-0 lead in series against Sri Lanka after huge win in Galle Test

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Virat Kohli: Leading from the front.

India captain Virat Kohli completed his 17th Test ton on Saturday and then let his bowlers demolish injury-hit Sri Lanka to claim a 304-run victory inside four days in the first Test.

It was India’s biggest winning margin in Sri Lanka and showed just why they are the top-ranked Test side in the world.

Set a daunting 550 to win, Dimuth Karunaratne made 97 for Sri Lanka, but after his departure in the final session their hopes sank in Galle.

With all-rounder Asela Gunaratne and stand-in captain Rangana Herath unable to bat through injury, Sri Lanka called it a day with eight wickets down and the total on 245.

Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin each took three wickets for the dominant tourists.

Kohli modestly called it a “clinical performance” after his side scored 600 in the first innings and then restricted Sri Lanka to 291.

India lost the opening match in Galle two years ago, but went on to take the series 2-1 and then return to number one in the Test rankings in the following months.

“We are a more experienced side now. We are playing more consistent cricket and that shows,” Kohli said after the big win.

The captain reached an unbeaten 103 at the start of the day before declaring India’s second innings on 240-3. He then gave his bowlers the job of grinding down the home side.

Karunaratne’s stubborn 208-ball innings took him past 2,500 career Test runs but there was not enough support at the other end.

Mohammed Shami forced Karunaratne’s fellow opener Upul Tharanga to play the ball onto his stumps for 10. Danushka Gunathilaka went for two, giving an easy catch to Cheteshwar Pujara at short square leg three overs later.

Kusal Mendis made a promising 36 before he got the thinnest of edges and was caught by wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha. The TV umpire gave it out after a Kohli appeal.

Former Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews, with two to his name, gave the easiest of catches to Hardik Pandya as he skipped down the wicket looking for a big hit.

Wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella made 67 and his 101 partnership with Karunaratne raised Sri Lankan hopes for a while, before he was also caught behind.

That brought in Dilruwan Perera, top scorer in Sri Lanka’s first innings with 92. But Karunaratne paid the price for a rare rash shot and was bowled by Ashwin, who is now on 279 Test wickets.

Nuwan Pradeep and Lahiru Kumara went within three overs, leaving Dilruwan stranded on 21.

India’s brilliant first innings — in which Shikhar Dhawan scored 190 and Pujara 153 — broke Sri Lanka on the first day.

“We need to improve ourselves fast — the batting, bowling and fielding,” said Sri Lankan captain Herath.

Gunaratne has been ruled out of the rest of the series with a fractured finger but veteran Herath said his injured finger would be better again in a few days.

The second Test starts in Colombo on August 3.

(Provided by AFP)

Most popular

Toby Roland-Jones rips through South Africa on his Test debut as he joins elite list of impressive England debutants

Ashish Peter 28/07/2017
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

On Friday, debutant Toby Roland-Jones ripped into the South Africa top order as England resumed battle with the Proteas in the third Test of the four match series.

The 29-year-old picked up four wickets in a very promising first spell in international cricket.

As the Middlesex man takes all the plaudits for his brilliant display, we look at three other Englishmen who have had Test debuts to remember in recent times.

KEVIN PIERSEN AGAINST AUSTRALIA – JULY 2005, OVAL

The South African-born batsman made his Test bow in the 2005 Ashes series between England and Australia.

Then a 25-year-old, Pietersen was picked ahead of veteran Graham Thorpe in the Ashes squad by the English selectors.

Pietersen came in to bat with England at 18 runs for the loss of three wickets in the first innings in reply to Australia’s 190 runs.

The tall right hander went on to top score with a dogged 57 runs before being dismissed by Shane Warne as the hosts were bundled out for just 155 runs.

Chasing a mammoth 420 runs in the second innings, England were 103 for the loss of three wickets when Pietersen walked in.

He waged a one-man battle as the rest of the side crumbled around him to the magic of Glenn McGrath and Warne. He would remain unbeaten on a hard fought 64 as Ricky Ponting’s men won the match by a huge 239 runs.

He became only the fourth England batsman to top score in both innings of their debut Test.

The trademark Pietersen sweeps were on display in his maiden Test

The trademark Pietersen sweeps were on display in his maiden Test.

HASEEB HAMEED AGAINST INDIA – NOVEMBER 2016, RAJKOT

Hameed was just 19 when he was picked for England’s five match tour of India in the winter of 2016.

The Lancashire man was called on to open the innings along with stalwart Alastair Cook based on his strong showing in county cricket and the right-hander scored a promising 31 runs in the first innings before being trapped in front by Ravichandran Ashwin.

England would go on to take a lead of 49 runs in the first innings after centuries for Joe Root and Ben Stokes.

It was in the second innings that Hameed shone the brightest as he scored a very fluid 82 in testing conditions. The teenager showed excellent technique and temperament in dealing with the spin threat of the Indian bowlers before handing a return catch to Amit Mishra.

In the process, the Bolton-born teenager became the third youngest English player to score a half-century on Test debut.

Hameed’s maturity beyond his age and the way he counter-attacked Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in the second innings earns him a spot on this list.

ALASTAIR COOK AGAINST INDIA – MARCH 2006, NAGPUR

The former skipper had a fairytale debut in the dust cauldron of Nagpur during England’s tour of the subcontinent.

The then 21-year-old Cook was in the West Indies as part of the English Cricket Board (ECB) National Academy tour when he was called up to replace the injured Michael Vaughan for the India tour.

The Essex man was thrown straight into the playing eleven for the Nagpur Test and did not disappoint as he scored 60 runs in a watchful first innings.

Cook’s innings along with Paul Colingwood’s unbeaten century enabled England to earn a 70 runs first innings lead against the hosts.

The young left-hander with a classical technique dug deep in the second innings in a marathon innings to become the 16th English batsman to score a century on debut.

He also remains one of only five England debutants to score a century and half century in their maiden Test.

Cook displayed flawless technique on his maiden call-up.

Cook displayed flawless technique on his maiden call-up.

Most popular

Related Sections