Ashwin’s 5-wicket haul leads Sri Lanka’s rout, India enforce follow-on
Colombo: A rampant India subjected Sri Lanka to the ignominy of follow-on on Saturday after Ravichandran Ashwin claimed his 26th five-wicket haul to help rout the hosts for 183 in the second test.
Ashwin (5-69) and spin partner Ravindra Jadeja shared seven wickets as Sri Lanka, resuming on 50-2, collapsed on a day three pitch that allowed for prodigious spin, with the ball often kicking up puffs of dust.
Niroshan Dickwella topscored with a desperate 51 as Sri Lanka lost their remaining eight wickets in an extended morning session to find themselves staring at a 439-run first-innings deficit and series loss with a match to spare.
India captain Virat Kohli, who led his team to a crushing 304-run win in the first of the three tests, understandably began the day with spin and was almost rewarded with immediate success.
Kusal Mendis guided Jadeja’s fifth delivery tantalisingly close to Cheteshwar Pujara but the fielder was standing too close to grab the ball as it flew past him.
Kohli’s field placement was right to a tee in Jadeja’s third over when avid sweeper Dinesh Chandimal sent the spinner straight to Hardik Pandya, who had been stationed at square leg for exactly that shot.
Sri Lanka had wanted something special from their skipper but Chandimal, who missed the Galle series opener with pneumonia, had managed only 10.
Jadeja was denied a second success in that over when Kohli, replacing Pujara at gully, dropped Angelo Mathews with the former Sri Lanka skipper having yet to score.
Kohli soon made amends, running backwards to take a brilliant catch to send back Mendis, who had made 24 before Umesh Yadav induced the leading edge.
Mathews decided to hit his way out of the trouble and clobbered a couple of sixes off Jadeja but the ploy did not work for long.
With a breezy 26 on the board, he flicked at an Ashwin delivery and Pujara took a spectacular left-handed catch at leg gully.
Jadeja dismissed Dhananjaya de Silva for a golden duck and Mohammed Shami came up with a two-wicket over to leave the Sri Lankan innings in tatters.
Realising the futility of trying to hang around, Dickwella threw his bat at everything, hitting seven boundaries and a six before attempting an ugly scoop against Shami that deflected the ball onto his stumps.
Nuwan Pradeep came out to bat despite a hamstring injury which will rule him out of the remainder of the series and he faced six balls before falling for a duck to end the innings. Reuters