Muscat Daily - - SPORTS -

Colombo, Sri Lanka - In­dia wrapped up a series vic­tory away from home in eight days of Test cricket. And it was only re­ally chal­lenged over the last two. The for­mal­i­ties were com­pleted four min­utes be­fore tea with Ravin­dra Jadeja pick­ing up his ninth five-for (5-152) in the same match he be­came the fastest left-armer to 150 wick­ets.

He was far from the only pro­tag­o­nist of an ab­sorb­ing game in Colombo. There were backs-to-the-wall-and-nose-tothe-bar­rel hun­dreds from Kusal Mendis (110) and Dimuth Karunaratne (141), which will cer­tainly give Sri Lanka hope for the fu­ture, but in the present it just wasn't enough.

And fi­nally, a men­tion for the pitch, which made balls scoot and bounce and rag and slip into other di­men­sions and come back a pineap­ple.

The re­sult of this Test - In­dia's first in­nings win in Sri Lanka - was ev­i­dent from the mo­ment it racked up a to­tal of 622 and en­forced the fol­low-on.

Op­po­si­tions forced into this predica­ment need a bit of a hero and Karunaratne stepped up. He was in his el­e­ment, of course. Four of his six Test hun­dreds have come in the sec­ond in­nings - and this will rank along­side the 152 he made in New Zealand in 2014, when an axe hung over his head.

Karunarante might not have got there had Lokesh Rahul held a rel­a­tively straight­for­ward chance at short leg in the 90s, but mis­takes such as those were rare, sim­ply be­cause he didn't want them hap­pen­ing. That de­ter­mi­na­tion made sure he con­cen­trated harder, which in turn helped him play close to his body, and with a soft touch. It was only af­ter bat­ting three full ses­sions on this treach­er­ous sur­face that he was dis­lodged.

Jadeja made one take off like a rocket. It lobbed off the glove and landed safely in Ajinkya Ra­hane's hands at slip. Karunaratne walked back af­ter hand­shakes and pats on the back. There re­ally was no shame in los­ing your wicket to a ball that be­haved like the stuff of NASA'S dreams.

Such un­playable de­liv­er­ies were ex­pected of Jadeja the mo­ment he was armed with mon­strous score­board pres- sure. But he had to wait 23 overs to make his first strike. Even­tu­ally, Jadeja found his rhythm - his fit­ness al­lows for him to wait as long as needed - and Sri Lanka was done for.

Di­nesh Chandi­mal (2) was nipped at slip. An­gelo Mathews (36) was un­done by ex­tra bounce and a spec­tac­u­lar catch

by Wrid­dhi­man Saha, taken some­where around his shoul­der while stand­ing up to the stumps. Dil­ruwan Per­era (4) pre­med­i­tated a trip down the track and paid for it. And Dhanan­jaya de Silva (17) was taken by Ra­hane be­hind the wicket as he came for­ward to take a low chance. In­dia's close-in field­ers - bar­ring fa­mil­iar er­rors from Vi­rat Kohli - was top class.

The vic­tory meant In­dia has won all eight of its most re­cent Test series. One more and it will equal the world record.


In­dia’s Ravin­dra Jadeja (sec­ond from right) cel­e­brates with team­mates af­ter dis­miss­ing Sri Lanka’s Dhanan­jaya de Silva on Sun­day

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