Spinners hand Sri Lanka shock 63-run victory

GALLE: Rangana Herath picked up seven wickets as Sri Lanka defeated India by 63 runs in the first Test in what can be termed as one of the most dramatic turnarounds in recent memory.


The Sri Lanka spinners shared all ten wickets on the fourth day at the Galle International Stadium on Saturday as India folded for 112 runs in pursuit of a target of 176.

Veteran 37-year-old left-arm spinner Herath picked up four of the six wickets that fell in the morning session, and added three more to his tally in his comeback match. Off-spinner Tharindu Kaushal took three as India crumbled against the turning ball.

Sri Lanka have defended a target of less than 200 just once before when Pakistan, set 168 to win at Galle in 2009, were shot out for 117 with Herath claiming four wickets.

Sri Lanka bounced back in the ongoing match after being reduced to 95-5 in their second innings before lunch on the third day, still 98 runs away from avoiding an innings defeat.

Dinesh Chandimal smashed a brilliant 162 off 169 balls, sharing valuable partnerships with Lahiru Thirimanne (44) and Jehan Mubarak (49) to lift the hosts to 367.

India made a slow start, adding seven runs in six overs to their overnight score of 23-1, five of them coming off the blade of nightwatchman Ishant Sharma.

Herath, who was brought on to bowl the seventh over, struck with his first delivery by trapping Ishant leg-before for 10.

Herath, who had dismissed Lokesh Rahul on Friday evening, claimed his third wicket soon after when he bowled Rohit Sharma for four to reduce India to 34-3.

Eleven runs later Kaushal removed Indian captain and star batsman Virat Kohli for three as Kaushal Silva took a low, sharp catch at forward short-leg off a bat-pad edge.

First-innings century-maker Shikhar Dhawan plodded for 83 deliveries to make 28 when he fell to a superb return catch by Kaushal, who dived to his left on the follow-through to pluck the ball.

Herath then had Wriddhiman Saha stumped by Chandimal for two and forced Harbhajan Singh to edge a catch to Silva as India slipped to 67-7 in the 33rd over.