Pallekele - Ravichandran Ashwin grabbed four wickets on Monday as India
crushed Sri Lanka by an innings and 171 runs inside three days to complete
their first three-Test series sweep on foreign soil.
Off-spinner Ashwin and paceman Mohammed Shami shared seven
wickets as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 181 in their follow-on in Pallekele.
Sri Lanka crumbled to 135 all out in their first response to
India's first innings 487, putting the world's top Test team in firm control.
"We are a young side. We look forward to playing Test
cricket with the same kind of excitement. That's the only way you can be
ruthless...We like to be proactive rather than reactive," said captain
"We have age on our side. We have an opportunity to
play together for five-six years with this whole bunch and this really excites
us," he added.
All-rounder Hardik Pandya set up the win with a blistering,
96-ball 108, cracking his maiden Test century in just his third game.
The 23-year-old Pandya, who hit eight fours and seven sixes,
received the man of the match award. He also bowled out former Sri Lanka
captain Angelo Mathews for nought in the first innings.
"The regulars have performed like they have been
doing...but the biggest positive would be Hardik's inclusion and the way he has
shaped up in the first three Tests," said Kohli.
"The kind of confidence he has shown with the ball and
the maturity with the bat as well, it really gives the boost down the order and
a lot of balance as far as our composition of the side is concerned,"
Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav turned up the heat with
four wickets in Sri Lanka's first innings as the islanders conceded a 352-run
first innings lead.
And Ashwin kept up the pressure on the beleaguered hosts,
striking the first blow of the morning session by sending back opener Dimuth
Karunaratne for 16.
Skipper Dinesh Chandimal, who made 36, provided some resistance
during his 65-run fifth-wicket stand with Angelo Mathews.
Kuldeep, playing just his second Test, broke the partnership
with Chandimal's wicket just after lunch, and Ashwin soon got Mathews for 35 as
Sri Lanka slipped further.
Wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella top-scored with 41 before
falling to the guile of the lanky off-spinner.
Shami combined with Ashwin to mop up the tail as struggling
Sri Lanka suffered their second successive innings loss after the Colombo Test.
"A tough series as a team. India played some good
cricket. Our batting and bowling was below-par through the series. We had to be
more patient and concentrate more," said a disappointed Chandimal.
Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan, who hit a brisk 119 in the first
innings, was named the man of the series for topping the run chart. The
left-handed batsman accumulated 358 runs in the series with two hundreds.
The two sides now play a limited-overs series with the first
of the five one-day international on August 20 in Dambulla. They will play a
single Twenty20 match after.