Ashwin spins India into box seat

2015-08-12 14:21
Ravichandran Ashwin (AP)

Galle - Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin grabbed six wickets as India bowled out Sri Lanka for 183 but then stumbled briefly in reply in a rousing start to the first Test on Wednesday.

Twelve wickets fell on the opening day and India were themselves reduced to 28/2 before they recovered to post 128 without further loss by stumps at the Galle International Stadium.

Opener Shikhar Dhawan was unbeaten on 53 and skipper Virat Kohli was on 45 during a third-wicket stand of 100, leaving India just 56 runs away from the lead.

Dhammika Prasad trapped Lokesh Rahul leg-before for seven and Rohit Sharma fell in similar fashion to Angelo Mathews for nine, but Dhawan and Kohli stepped in to deny Sri Lanka further success.

Ashwin, playing a Test match on Sri Lankan soil for the first time, finished with six for 46 as the home team were bowled out in 49.4 overs after they won the toss and elected to bat.

Leg-spinner Amit Mishra, one of the three spinners in the Indian team on an unusually dry pitch, took two wickets off successive balls to hasten the end.

Mathews top-scored with 64 and Dinesh Chandimal led a charmed life to make 59, the pair sharing a valuable 79-run partnership for the sixth wicket after their team had collapsed to 60-5 before lunch.

Chandimal - lucky to survive a dropped catch by wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha off Ishant Sharma in the second over after lunch when he was on five - hit nine boundaries.

Mathews brought up his half-century with a six over long-on against veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh. He also hit six fours.

Ishant struck the first blow in the morning session dominated by India when he forced Dimuth Karunaratne to fend a short ball to Ajinkya Rahane at first slip.

In the next over, Kaushal Silva top-edged fast bowler Varun Aaron and Dhawan made amends for a dropped catch earlier in the innings by holding the skier at first slip.

Kumar Sangakkara, playing the first of his last two Tests before retiring from international cricket, walked in at 15/2 to the bursting of firecrackers and warm applause from some 1,500 home fans.

But the left-hander, the leading run-scorer in Tests among those still playing, faced just 12 deliveries before falling in the first over after the drinks break for five.

Sangakkara punched the third ball from Ashwin straight to silly-point fielder Rahul, who gleefully held on to the sharp chance.

Lahiru Thirimanne (13) appeared in fine touch while striking two boundaries before he became Ashwin's second victim, caught in the slips by Rahane to leave Sri Lanka tottering on 54/4.

Ashwin gained another wicket before lunch when he deceived Jehan Mubarak (0) in the air and the batsman gave Rahul an easy catch at forward short-leg.

Mathews and Chandimal fought back after lunch but Ashwin ended the threatening stand by having the Sri Lankan captain caught superbly by a diving Rohit at forward short-leg for 64.

Ashwin then trapped Dhammika Prasad leg-before for zero in his next over to claim his 11th five-wicket haul in 26 Tests.

Mishra removed Chandimal and Tharindu Kaushal off successive deliveries, but last man Nuwan Pradeep denied the bowler a hat-trick.

Read more on:    india  |  sri lanka  |  ravichandran ashwin  |  cricket


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