You could easily label it as a one-sided contest, but the truth is, Sri Lanka arrived in Colombo a little late. In simple words, they weren’t good enough. And while Galle was an injury to insult for the hosts, Colombo was a gentle reminder of India’s colossal Test robustness. It did mean an unassailable 2-0 lead for Virat Kohli and co, but for Rangana Herath’s men, a second innings revival like the one they put on the show, might be an inspiration and stepping stone for the future.
At the end, India won by an innings and 53 runs, but not before they were made to toil and boil to earn what was actually, well, inevitable.
Nevermind though, here are the top key takeaways from India’s triumph at Colombo.
‘Sir’ Ravindra Jadeja will get you, by hook or by crook
He had to strive for his wickets, but when they came Sir Jadeja was a happy, and a relieved man. KL Rahul dropped Dimuth Karunaratne at short leg, and that could have been his first wicket, but it wasn’t. Instead, Dinesh Chandimal edged one to Ajinkya Rahane at slip and that was his first. Jadeja breathed a sigh of relief then.
Eventually, he got the following wickets: Karunaratne caught after a delivery took off from nowhere, Angelo Mathews edging one to Saha, Dilruwan Perera stumped by Wriddhiman Saha after being beaten by turn, and Dhananjaya de Silva caught at slip. All wickets coming around the bat, the pitch acting like a comrade in Jadeja’s mission.
Beating the outside edge and producing a magic ball every now and then kept happening, but that didn’t mean Jadeja didn’t leak runs. He finished with 5 for 152 in the second innings. Add to that two wickets in the first innings and a 70 not out, and you’d feel he was rightfully named Player of the Match, his fourth one this year, the most by any player this year.
And now he’s suspended for the Pallekele Test for throwing the ball “in a dangerous manner” at Malinda Pushpakumara. Oh well, that’s certainly harsh. Anyway, lucky you, Sri Lanka.
— Ravindrasinh jadeja (@imjadeja) August 6, 2017
Wriddhiman Saha has a ball behind the stumps (Excuse the pun)
Wicketkeepers don’t normally get praises for the hard work they put in day-in, day-out, but the commentators were certainly awe-struck by some of Wriddhiman Saha’s skills on a surface that was tough to keep wickets on.
Some balls just rocketed, some stayed down, some saw vicious turn, some went down the leg side but Saha grabbed each and every one of them. Perhaps Angelo Mathews’ dismissal will sum up the kind of zone 32-year old Saha was in.
Jadeja bowls to Mathews. Mathews tries to play a cut, is fully committed to it. But he gets a top-edge. And Saha is there. Eyes firmly on the ball, hands climbing with the ball, and the ball gets stuck. That might seem easy to do, it was world-class, to say the least.
And that wasn’t even the best part of his keeping. Sri Lanka scored 183 and 386 in their first and second innings. There were only four byes in them. Four.
“Four byes on that sort of pitch speaks of his (Saha’s) quality. He is definitely the best keeper in this format I will say. How agile he is! He is very safe behind the stumps,” said Kohli in the post-match ceremony.
Dimuth Karunaratne comes up with a gem
It had to end in a losing cause, but Dimuth Karunaratne’s 141 in the second innings will be one that he will savour, for it came against the No.1 Test team in the world. Not to forget, against two top-ranked Test bowlers as well.
If not for Karunaratne’s resolve in the second innings, along with Kusal Mendis who also registered a century of his, the scorecard would have been a replica of the first innings. The duo dug-in and salvaged some pride for their team.
Eventually, he got out to an unplayable Jadeja delivery, but Karunaratne by then had made sure, that he deserved all the handshakes and pats-on-the-back from the opposition and Angelo Mathews who stood at the other end.
— Dimuth Karunaratne (@IamDimuth) August 6, 2017
Cheteshwar ‘The Rock’ Pujara
Consistent, run-machine, solid, patient; the list of adjectives used to describe Cheteshwar Pujara has been getting longer and longer, ever since the Duleep Trophy last year.
An old-fashioned cricketer comfortably adept at the art of wearing the opposition down, Pujara, it can be said, is at the peaks of his powers. At Colombo, he scored his 13th Test ton but it was the manner in which he got there.
— ICC (@ICC) August 3, 2017
Changing gears from 29 off 94 to 83 off 133 happened without any issue at all. Pujara had every answer to field changes. By making use of the sweep shot, a shot that he normally considers risky, he continued on and on. With a defense like a barricade, impossible to get past on occasions, and with a habit of shimmying down the wicket to reach the pitch of the ball, Pujara is thriving. Centuries have become routine. Getting past him now comes under #squadgoals.