Rangana Herath’s Power Pack Performance Helps Sri Lanka Win Galle Test against India

August 16 23:09 2015

herathNew Delhi, Monday, August 17 – How can we lose this match? Perhaps, it was the thought that came in the mind of each Indian cricket fan catching the active live at Galle International Stadium, Galle, and those having their eyes struck on all happenings and even those who got to know about India’s defeat in “almost won” match against Sri Lanka on Saturday, August 15, a tad late.

From day 1, it was apparent Sri Lanka weren’t into the game despite the fact that they won the toss and opt to bat first. The fluency with pitch and weather conditions weren’t well utilized after Angelo Mathews-led side put just 183 runs on the scoreboard in their first innings. India that looked confident under the captaincy of Virat Kohli seemed capable of breaking the jinx this time by registering a win on Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka in a Test series.

Ravichandran Ashwin emerged as a bigger threat for them. Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra, Varun Aaron and Ishant Sharma bowled well too. India were all out at 375 runs while batting in 1st innings. Everything appeared all fine given that the host had a tough time while batting for a second time as well. Dimuth Karunaratne  and Kaushal Silva had to go back without adding any run as Indian bowling lineup made them bear the brunt.

Losing two men at a zero took Sri Lanka by surprise. Something was needed to be done at that stage if they wished of a comeback in crucial game against a team from neighboring country. Sri Lanka were eying solid partnership, while on the other hand, India focused on attaining remaining 6 wickets as early as possible. When Dhammika Prasad was dismissed by Aaron at 3 runs in 12 balls, it was apparent that now India have got grip in the match. But soon after this, Sri Lanka gained foothold thanks to Kumar Sangakkara knock of 40 runs in 70 balls, including 5 boundaries. Mathews, prior falling short to Mishra at 39 runs, struck 4 4s and a boundary.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Chandimal was not out at 162 runs in 169 balls, along with 19 boundaries and 4 sixes. He was the game changer in all senses. Lahiru Thirimanne fell 6 runs short to pocket a half-century, but contributed some crucial runs in the team’s total score. Jehan Mubarak was dismissed by Harbhajan at 49 runs. Rangana Herath, who razed India while bowling, was out at a single. T Kaushal was dismissed by Ishant at 7 runs while the Nuwan Pradeep was the last man to depart when Ashwin trapped him in a good delivery at a score of 3 runs. Off-spinner Ashwin was brilliant again with 4 wickets. Mishra got 3 wickets, while Singh, Aaron and Sharma 1 wicket apiece.

The way Indian cricketers lost their wickets without showing any resistance is disappointing. It is even more disappointing for all cricket fans who were certain that India are going to win when the nation celebrates its 69th Independence Day. But what a shock! Turning off television set was something that they felt easy doing so rather than watching team India getting defeated at the hands of Sri Lanka when looking robust and capable to take lead by 1-0 in 3-match Test series. Both India and Sri Lanka are trying new sets of players to perform in different formats and this is astonishing to see one marking a comeback in such a manner while the another collapsing at a position when nothing but spending time on the crease would have made the match’s outcome come in favor of India. Had the batting orders been able to do so, runs would have accumulated automatically, not matter, at snail’s pace.

What a turnaround from Mathews’ men? Words are less to describe their efforts as individuals and as a unit. Except Ajinkya Rahane, there was no other India cricketer who could rise at the time of need to hold the fort to make sure that the job is done at the end.  Lokesh Rahul got his legs before wickets in Herath’s over. But this was just the start. Shikhar Dhawan contributed 28 runs. Ishant Sharma succumbed to Herath at 10 runs, inclusive of a four. Rohit Sharma failed to prove his worthiness as contribution from his side was just 4 runs in 16 balls, together with a boundary. Virat Kohli was taken by surprise by T Kaushal at 3 runs.

Wriddhiman Saha was stumped by Chandimal in an over by Herath at 2 runs. Harbhajan Singh was soon shocked by the same man when batting at 1 run. The senior bowler Herath did not stop here and took wicket of Ravichandran Ashwin at 3 runs and Ajinkya Rahane at 36 runs (4 x 4). Amit Mishra’s wicket to T Kaushal  at 15 runs made Sri Lanka jump in joy and celebrate victory. Varun Aaron was not out at 1. Herath’s seven and Kaushal’s 3 wickets must have taught India a good lesson. Sri Lankan players have all right to celebrate and why not! The victory is huge. Defending a big total may be a tad easy but doing the same with small one beating all odds is certainly wonderful.