Skipper Virat Kohli's decision to play only four specialist bowlers was vindicated as India bundled out a defensive Sri Lanka for a paltry 205 on the opening day of the second Test on Friday. At stumps, India were 11 for 1 with KL Rahul 7 back in the pavilion, being played on to a Lahiru Gamage delivery. After the completion of first innings, Ashwin now has 296 wickets in his 54th Test. He will get another innings in this game plus the Delhi Test to get the remaining four scalps and break Dennis Lillee's (56 Test) record fastest to 300 wickets.
With no demons on a sporting track where stroke-play wasn't too difficult, the visitors never got going as spinners Ravichandran Ashwin (4/67) and Ravindra Jadeja (3/56) along with comeback-man Ishant Sharma (3/37) shared the spoils. Sri Lanka were 160 for four at one stage during the final session looking good enough to stage a fightback before a batting collapse saw them lose six wickets for only 45 runs.
Sri Lankan batsmen were ultra-defensive in their approach during the first session on a Jamtha track which had good bounce and carry but was far from the menacing green-top that was on offer at the Eden Gardens during the first Test match. The lack of intent to get going in the second and third sessions affected their performance with only skipper Dinesh Chandimal 57 looked like in control till he was at the crease. The trio of Ishant, Ashwin and Jadeja did not bowl anything exceptional but their unwavering consistency saw the Lankans buckle under pressure.
Ishant, who normally bowls back of the length mixed it up with good full-length deliveries that got him the wickets while Jadejas armers proved to be very effective. He was instrumental in dislodging the stodgy Karunaratne, who had by then already played 147 deliveries, hitting six boundaries. His skipper Chandimal would have expected Karunaratne to help him in conjure a bigger partnership than the 62 runs that they added for the fourth wicket. Ishant finally sent the dogged Karunaratne back with a delivery that looked to have straightened after pitching. Karunaratne went for DRS but the replays showed that the delivery would have hit the off-stump.
Courtesy Chandimal, Sri Lanka managed to score 104 runs in 32 overs during the post-lunch session, losing a couple of wickets. All the hardwork was undone in the post-tea session after Dickwellas dismissal. It also affected Chandimal's confidence as he was not the same player again. The seasoned Thirimanne was in a defensive mode from the start as his 58-ball stay at the crease would suggest. So intent he was on defending that he tried to play an ugly sweep shot to a Ravichandran Ashwin delivery that hardly turned and missed the line completely to get bowled.