In­dia thrash Sri Lanka by 304 runs in first test

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In­dia cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli com­pleted his 17th Test ton yes­ter­day 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 all­rounder 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 two overs later. Kusal Mendis made a promis­ing 36 be­fore he made the thinnest of touches to 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 275 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 192 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. — AFP

GALLE: In­dian cricket cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli plays a shot dur­ing the fourth day’s play of the first Test cricket match be­tween In­dia and Sri Lanka in Galle, Sri Lanka, yes­ter­day. — AP

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