After a curtailed but exciting drawn first Test, India and Sri Lanka got down to business in the second Test of the three-match series at Nagpur on Friday.
With another pitch bearing a greenish top on offer, it was no surprise that 11 wickets fell on the opening day after Dinesh Chandimal had won the toss and elected to bat first.
We look at two good and bad performances after India finished the day at 11-1 after bowling out the visitors for 205 runs in their first innings.
India’s spin-twins send timely reminder
In the drawn first Test at the Eden Gardens, there was a striking anomaly which occurred. For the first time in 261 Tests played at home, no Indian spinner picked up a wicket. India’s medium pacers claimed all 17 Lankan wickets to fall as Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja bowled only ten overs between them on a green track.
On Friday, another greenish top notwithstanding, India’s spin-twins showed why they have played such a vital role in the side’s ascendancy to the top of the ICC Test rankings.
The duo shared seven wickets between themselves as they rattled through Sri Lanka’s middle and lower orders, enabling the hosts to bundle out the islanders on a pitch still conducive to batting.
Ashwin picked up four wickets on the day.
Ishant Sharma makes return count
With Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami and Bhuvenshwar Kumar establishing themselves as India’s frontline pace attack in the red-ball format, Ishant has been relegated to a bit-part role.
Wedding bells for Bhuvneshwar had however opened the doors for the 29-year-old to make a return to the playing XI and he made it count in spectacular fashion. The Delhi-born pacer removed both the Lankan openers with his persistent line and length.
Sadeera Samarawickrama was caught at first slip after driving one ball too many while Dimuth Karunaratne was trapped on the pads after scoring a fine half-century. Ishant then removed Suranaga Lakmal in the end to finished with figures of 3-37 in the 14 overs he bowled.
Ishant made full use of his opportunity after Bhuvenshwar’s absence.
Samarawickrama’s loose shot gets islanders off to worst possible start
Playing only his third Test match in a still fledging career, the Sri Lankan youngster never quite looked in control in the opener’s position on Friday. The 22-year-old had a poor match at the Eden Gardens where he was dismissed for a duck and 13 runs in his two innings.
He looked all too trigger-happy in Nagpur, driving rashly a couple of times in the morning. In the end the right-handed batsman failed to reign in his driving tendencies and succumbed while chasing a wide and fuller delivery from Ishant. He could only knick the delivery to first slip where Cheteshwar Pujara took an outstanding divining catch to send the Sri Lankan opener back to the pavilion.
Samarawickrama’s loose shot brought an early end to his innings.
Sri Lanka’s batting leaves a lot to be desired once again
Looking well placed at 122-3 at one stage with skipper Chandimal and Karunaratne looking solid, the islanders wasted away that advantage with the batting order crumbling once again like a pack of cards.
Apart from the fifties from Chandimal and Karunaratne, none of the batsmen got stuck in on a pitch which required some application early on but was generally good for batting.
Niroshan Dickwella once again failed to make the most of his start while veteran all-rounder Angelo Mathews did not last long either. With a line-up littered with inexperience, Sri Lanka require much more from the leaders in the team but with no batsman going on to play a long innings, their task at hand just got a whole lot more difficult.
Sri Lanka’s batting floundered once again in Nagpur.