Ashwin stars as India spoil Sangakkara’s farewell

Tuesday, 25 August 2015 00:35 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Ashwin, Mishra  wreck Lanka

India level three-test series

Reuters: India spoiled Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara’s farewell party with off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bowling the visitors to a series-levelling 278-run victory in the second test on Monday.

Ashwin (5-42) and his spin colleague Amit Mishra (3-29) ran through the Sri Lankan batting order as the hosts, chasing 413 for an improbable victory, collapsed to 134 all out in their second innings.

24-2Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara (top) waves to his fans during his retirement ceremony after India won their second test cricket match against Sri Lanka in Colombo August 24, 2015. Sangakkara officially announced that he will retire test cricket after the second test cricket match against India. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte



Resuming on 72-2, Sri Lanka lost skipper Angelo Mathews to the first ball of the day, a setback that completely unhinged them and they collapsed soon after to give Virat Kohli his first test victory as India captain.

“A commendable effort by the boys, coming together nicely after that kind of loss (at Galle), regrouping very quickly and putting a performance like this,” Kohli said after the victory.

“We were pumped up to get wickets and we got a perfect start. From there on, the bowlers realised it’s time to squeeze in now and build up some really good pressure,” he added.

Sri Lanka’s day begun in the worst possible fashion when India paceman Umesh Yadav struck with the first ball of the morning which Mathews (23) edged for stand-in wicketkeeper Lokesh Rahul to take a diving, one-handed catch.

Rahul was keeping in place of regular India stumper Wriddhiman Saha, who has been ruled out of the remainder of the series with a hamstring injury.

24-1India’s captain Virat Kohli (C) celebrates with his teammates after winning their second test cricket match against Sri Lanka in Colombo August 24, 2015. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte


Mishra struck the next blow, pulling off a classical leg-spinner’s dismissal by bowling Dinesh Chandimal around his legs.

Ashwin and Mishra maintained relentless pressure on the hosts to reduce them to 130-9 when rain brought a premature lunch, but the relief proved short lived as the hosts folded soon after the break.

“We did not play our best cricket,” Mathews rued at the presentation ceremony.

“More disappointing is we could not do it for Sanga, who deserved to leave the field with a high and a win. We promise him we will play our best in the next game and win it for him.”

Rahul, who struck a century in the first innings, was adjudged man of the match.

Ashwin has been equally impressive and with 17 wickets from the first two tests, he is likely to trouble Sri Lanka again in the third and final test in Colombo starting on Friday. Sangakkara, who made 32 and 18 in his 134th and final test, was given a rousing reception with the Indians shaking hands with him and the former captain being hoisted by his team mates for a round of the stadium as the crowd gave a standing ovation. 

24-3India’s Ravichandran Ashwin (2nd L) celebrates with captain Virat Kohli (R) and Ajinkya Rahane (C) after taking the wicket of Sri Lanka’s Dimuth Karunaratne (not pictured) during the fifth day of their second test cricket match in Colombo August 24, 2015. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte