Pink ball Test: Bowlers, Iyer put India in a commanding position against Sri Lanka

Bengaluru:- Fast bowlers — Jasprit Bumrah (3/15), Mohammed Shami (2/18) — along with batter Shreyas Iyer (92) put India in a commanding position against Sri Lanka on the fast-paced opening day of the second and final Test (pink ball game) at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, here on Saturday.

Sri Lanka were 86-6 in their first innings at stumps, trailing by 166 runs against India. Niroshan Dickwella (13 off 29) and Lasith Embuldeniya (0) were unbeaten at the crease at the end of the day’s play in Bengaluru.

After bowling out India for 252 in their first innings, Sri Lanka didn’t show much application during their batting as Bumrah and Shami got lots of movement under the lights and rattled the visitors’ top order

Bumrah gave India the first breakthrough, by eking out the outside edge off Kusal Mendis and Lahiru Thirimanne within five overs off a swinging ball. Shami struck on his first ball to knock over skipper Dimuth Karunaratne and a smart review from Rohit Sharma gave Shami his second as Dhananjaya de Silva was trapped leg before.

Axar Patel then dismissed Charith Asalanka (5) to reduce Sri Lanka to 50/5. However, India faced some resistance from Angelo Mathews and Niroshan Dickwella who added 35 runs for the sixth wicket. Mathews, who scored 43 runs, played both Axar and Jadeja spinners skilfully. He used his feet, played on the back foot for most parts, but poked one off Bumrah just two overs shy of stumps to second slip.

Bumrah could’ve had his fourth, but India didn’t review a low full toss that hit Embuldeniya in front.

Earlier in the day, India won the toss and opted to bat first but the hosts got off to a poor start as Mayank Agarwal was run-out on four. In the second over of the innings, there was an appeal for a leg-before against Agarwal that was turned down. The Indian batters thought they could sneak in a run and Mayank ran down the pitch.

However, there was some confusion from Rohit at the other end and the Sri Lankans took full advantage and ran Agarwal out. Hanuma Vihari then joined Rohit Sharma at the crease. The duo added 19 runs for the second wicket before Lasith Embuldeniya dismissed Rohit for 15.

On a flighted delivery, Rohit lunged into the forward defence and got an outside edge as Dhananjaya de Silva stayed low to take a good catch, leaving India in trouble at 29-2 after 9.3 overs.

From there on, Virat Kohli, who got loud cheers at his IPL home ground, and Vihari steadied the Indian innings. Vihari punished the short balls and stitched a handy 47-run stand for the third wicket before Vihari fell to Jayawickrama on 31. Soon, Kohli was also trapped in front of the wicket on 23 by Dhananjaya de Silva before the Tea break.

Resuming the second session at 93/4, runs came quickly for India as Rishabh Pant played some attacking shots. With seven boundaries, Pant raced to 39 off 26 balls before being cleaned up by Embuldeniya. Ravindra Jadeja (4), who came to bat next didn’t last long as Embuldeniya scalped another wicket. R Ashwin then joined Shreyas Iyer at the crease and helped the hosts regain stability by forging a handy 35-run stand for the seventh wicket.

Just as it was looking like the Iyer-Ashwin partnership was taking India to a strong position, De Silva gave Sri Lanka the breakthrough, removing Ashwin for 13. However, Iyer continued to hammer boundaries at the other end and got to his fifty despite not getting much support from the next batters — Axar Patel (9) and Mohammed Shami (5).

With India at 229-9, Iyer decided to go all-out and smashed a few towering sixes and moved closer to his century. He was dismissed for 92 eventually and India were bowled out for 252 in their first innings.

Praveen Jayawickrama (3/81), Lasith Embuldeniya (3/94), Dhananjaya de Silva (2/32) and Suranga Lakmal (1/12) were the wicket-takers for Sri Lanka.

Brief scores: India 252 all out in 59.1 overs (Shreyas Iyer 92, Rishabh Pant 39; Praveen Jayawickrama 3/81) Sri Lanka 86-6 after 30 overs (Angelo Mathews 43; Jasprit Bumrah 3/15)