India 252 (Iyer 92, Jayawickrama 3-81, Embuldeniya 3-94) and 303 for 9 dec. (Iyer 67, Pant 50, Jayawickrama 4-78) beat Sri Lanka 109 (Mathews 43, Bumrah 5-24) and 208 (Karunaratne 107, Mendis 54, Ashwin 4-55, Bumrah 3-23) by 238 runs
Even someone as well set as he was couldn’t quite judge the extent of late inward movement on that full delivery, and that was that for Sri Lanka. In the face of a relentless attack, the others proved to be sitting ducks as their high-risk, high-returns strategy fell flat.
India wrapped up an emphatic 2-0 series win inside two sessions on the third day at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. The series lasted all of six days, with Sri Lanka’s 208 all out in their final innings being their highest total of the lot.
In this period, what worked for Sri Lanka was their clarity in committing themselves fully forward or going right back to play the ball. The odd ball scooting low or jumping from the rough didn’t seem to bother them much. Mendis raised his 12th half-century off just 57 balls.
On a surface that turns big, the most dangerous delivery can often be the one that doesn’t turn. Angelo Mathews found out as much the hard way, stabbing at a Jadeja delivery outside the line only for the ball to sneak through and flatten the stumps. From there on, Sri Lanka were in free fall.
Dhanajaya de Silva was out to sharp turn as he lobbed a catch to Hanuma Vihari at short leg as Ashwin went past Steyn. Niroshan Dickwella survived a DRS call for caught behind, but his tendency to run down the pitch and play big shots cost him as he was done in by Axar Patel’s flatter trajectory to be stumped.
As all this played out at one end, Karunaratne shelved his enterprising avatar and brought out the hard grind, also to good effect. He played with soft hands, played with his bat close to the body and ensured he didn’t let the spinners dictate terms. The same could hardly be said about the rest of the line-up. Charith Asalanka was the next to go as he lobbed a simple catch to backward short leg.
As Karunaratne approached his century, he started to take chances as he was running out of partners. Once into the nineties, he reverse swept for two runs, then brought out a conventional sweep in front of square for four and then, having got to 99 via three singles, brought out a neat flick to the backward-square-leg fence off Bumrah to reach his hundred.
No sooner had he celebrated getting to the landmark in what was a terrific knock, did Bumrah bounce back to get him with that magic ball. On “tail dismantle” mode, Bumrah took one more – Suranga Lakmal’s last innings in Test cricket ending with his stumps disturbed – to finish with a match haul of eight. The tame end wasn’t entirely unexpected, but Sri Lanka would be the first to admit they ought to have applied themselves better.
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo