India suffer shocking defeat in first test against Lanka

Wednesday 19th August 2015 06:33 EDT

India capitulated to an embarrassing 63-run defeat in the first cricket Test against Sri Lanka, who scripted one of the most remarkable turnarounds in recent Test history. Set a victory target of 176, the listless Indians surrendered tamely to be skittled out for their lowest score of 112 in just 49.5 over to give the islanders a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Left arm spinner Rangana Herath scalped 7/48 and Tharindu Kaushal took 3/47 as the Lankans bamboozled the Indians to bundle them out in just 41.5 overs and wrap up the Test match in three and half days. It was a dramatic performance from the hosts who after conceding a massive 192-run first innings lead to turn the table on the Indians who had themselves to blame for the debacle. The Indians allowed the hosts to wriggle out of a precarious 95-5 in their second innings just at the stroke of lunch with Dinesh Chandimal changing the complexion of the game with a brilliant counter-attacking 162 not out. From then on, the Lankans clawed back into the game. India's ploy of going into the game with five specialist bowlers at the cost of sacrificing a batsman also backfired badly as they did not have the batting fire power to chase even a modest target.

The Indian batsmen, for some strange reason, went into the fourth day's play with a defensive frame of mind and Shikar Dhawan took 36 balls to score his first run in the morning. Though the Indians are regarded as good players of spin bowling, they showed a shocking lack of technique and foot work on a pitch that had no real demons. Ajinkya Rahane (36) and Shikhar Dhawan (28) were the only two batsmen who could hang around for some time as wickets kept tumbling with exasperating regularity with six wickets falling for 55 runs in the pre-lunch session.

Kaushal claimed the last wicket of Amit Mishra to trigger scenes of celebrations in the Sri Lankan camp. The humiliating defeat also served as a huge mood dampener for Indian fans who were keen to celebrate the Independence day with a win.

The two teams will now travel to Colombo for the second Test to be held at the P Sara Oval from August 20.

The Indian collapse began in the morning as Herath picked up his 22nd five-wicket haul in Test cricket. He picked up 4/24 in the first session as the visitors lost 6 wickets for only 55 runs, whilst chasing 176 to win.

Shikhar Dhawan and Ishant Sharma started from their overnight scores of 13 and 5 respectively, with India placed at 23/1.

It was an expected slow start from both, with Dhawan looking to get his eye in while Ishant looking to spend as much time at the wicket as possible. In the meantime, Lankan pacers Dhammika Prasad, Nuwan Pradeep and skipper Angelo Mathews bowled 7 overs between them before spin was introduced.

Playing cautiously proved to be a mistake for India, as only 7 runs had come off the pacers. Dhawan was excruciatingly slow, taking 36 balls to score his first runs of the day. Then, the spinners were deployed and they got on top immediately.

Ishant was the first to go in the 15th over, trapped LBW by Herath off the very first ball he bowled. Rohit Sharma (4) walked in at number four and didn't last long, out bowled by Herath in the 19th over.

Three overs later skipper Virat Kohli (3) was out as Kaushal Silva took a diving catch at forward short leg off Kaushal. Drinks were taken at that stage and India were placed at 45/4, losing 22/3 in the first hour's play. The carnage didn't stop as the session resumed though.

Ajinkya Rahane (36) joined Dhawan in the middle, with the latter deciding to play some shots. They added 15 runs for the 5th wicket and helping India cross the 50-run mark. But Dhawan's ploy wasn't very successful, making odd-looking attempts, and ultimately threw his wicket away in the 28th over as Kaushal took a brilliant return catch.

Three overs later, Wriddhiman Saha (2) was stumped as he charged at Herath. Runs were coming only in trickles, but there were wickets aplenty, as Harbhajan Singh (1) was sent back in the 33rd over then, caught close by Silva again.

Stuart Binny to join Indian squad

All-rounder Stuart Binny has been included in the Indian Test squad, ahead of the second Test which starts from Thursday in Colombo. Confirming the news, the BCCI said that Binny was an addition to the 15-man unit , who can bat at number six and be a fifth bowling option. The 31-year-old has represented India in three Tests till now, which were all against England at a batting average of 23.60.

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