The third and final test of the bilateral Test series between India and Sri Lanka ended in a draw, handing India their 9th consecutive test series win, equalling the feats of both Australia and England. This marks the end to a memorable year for the Indian test team where they triumphed over both Australia and Sri Lanka, further solidifying their position as the number one Test team.
On a foggy morning at New Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla, Indian skipper, Virat Kohli won the toss and decided to bat first. The Indian openers who have been in sublime form in the series once again started in an assured manner. However, both Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara got out after getting their eye in. When captain and homeboy Virat Kohli walked out at the Kotla to join Murali Vijay in the middle, India were in need of a long partnership to validate their decision to bat first. Both the batsmen got well set and stitched a massive partnership of 283 runs, which put India on the driving seat. Man of the Match and Man of the series, Virat Kohli once again wrote his name on the record books as he scored his 6th double century in the last 18 months. He overtook Brian Lara’s record of most number of double centuries as a test captain. Kohli scored a career best 243 to the delight of his home fans. He was ably supported by a solid Murali Vijay (155), who also brought up his 4th 150 plus score in his career. By the time he got out, India was in a commanding position. Rohit Sharma’s second fifty (65) in as many innings ensured that India were able to declare late on Day 2 at the score of 536-7. Among the Sri Lankan bowlers, spinner Lakshan Sandakan produced a tireless bowling effort bowling 34 overs, and finishing with a four wicket haul to show for it.
The Sri Lankan batsmen in reply showed a lot of maturity by producing one of their finest batting displays in the series. It looked like the same old story for Sri Lanka when they were reeling at 75-3, but senior pros Angelo Mathews (111) and Captain Dinesh Chandimal (164) put their hands up and steered their team towards relative safety by putting together a 181 run stand. It was on the back of this partnership that Sri Lanka was able to avoid a follow on as they reached a respectable score of 373. The Indian bowlers put in impressive performances on a pitch which lacked any assistance. Ishant Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin both finished with three wickets each.
With a healthy lead of 163, India came out to bat with positive intent on Day 4 as they looked to set a match winning target. Shikhar Dhawan provided a quick fire 67 which was followed by fifties from Virat Kohli (50) and Rohit Sharma (50) as they declared the innings at 246-5, giving their opposition an improbable target of 410 with little over a day’s time. In reply Sri Lanka looked to be struggling with three quick wickets falling before the close of 4th day and one early wicket at the start of Day 5. Ravindra Jadeja (3-81) was seemingly unplayable during the first session of the last day when the islanders were restricted to 35-4. However, a dogged innings by youngster Dhananjaya De Silva (119 retired hurt) frustrated the Indian bowlers. Indians sniffed a victory after he retired hurt but their plans were met by a steady unbroken partnership of 152 between Roshen Silva (74) and Niroshen Dickwella (44), who ensured that the Sri Lankans salvaged a draw. This meant that Indians for the second time in 3 test matches had to be satisfied with a draw in matches that they dominated. The improved batting performances will give the Sri Lankans some much needed confidence ahead of the limited overs series. The Indians on the other hand will look to dominate another series with their neighbours where Rohit Sharma will lead the Indian team for the first time, as regular captain Virat Kohli has been rested ahead of the big series against the Proteas.
Australia Win Historical First Ever Day Night Ashes Test At Adelaide Oval to Go 2-0 Up
Adelaide Oval became the first ground in history to host a day night ashes test as it witnessed a thrilling contest between bat and ball. At the end of it all Australia prevailed by 120 runs taking a 2- 0 lead in the 5 match series. Joe Root won the toss and asked the hosts to take first strike on a pitch which looked to have some good bounce and carry. However, the Australians were up for the challenge as they batted cautiously. Most of the Australian top order batsmen got starts but only Shaun Marsh was able to capitalize on it and get to the three figure mark. It was largely due to his unbeaten 126 that Australia was able to declare the innings on a score of 442-8. Craig Overton on his debut put up an impressive bowling display getting rid of 3 Australian batsmen.
In response, the English batsmen did not exhibit the application required to score on a bouncy Adelaide track. Moreover, the Australian bowling attack seemed to have more firepower than their English counterparts to exploit the conditions. The pace of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, the line and length of Josh Hazlewood combined with the guile of an in from Nathan Lyon ensured that England could only manage a score of 227. Craig Overton once again showed maturity while scoring a gritty 41* as he ran out of partners. The Aussies to the surprise of many did not choose to enforce a follow on, knowing well that batting under lights may get tricky.
This proved to be a controversial decision as the match changed dramatically when England skittled out Australia for a paltry total of 138. Exceptional swing bowling displays by James Anderson (5/43) and Chris Woakes (4/36) turned the match on its head as all three results seemed possible.
England in pursuit of 343 in the fourth innings started in a nervy manner. None of the English batsmen seemed to have any idea of how to cope with the Australian bowlers. Once the wicket of their talismanic captain fell to Josh Hazlewood on the 5th morning it seemed inevitable that Australia would cruise to another victory. Mitchell Starc cleaned up the tail with a fiery last spell and ended up with 5 wickets. Shaun Marsh was adjudged the man of the match for his match tally of 145 runs. With the third ashes test at the WACA, Perth, England need to find a way to handle the Australian pace battery if they are to harbour any hopes of retaining the Ashes.