169 DELIVERIES, 19 FOURS, 4 SIXES
SRI LANKA V INDIA, 1ST TEST, GALLE, 2015
Sri Lanka 183 (Ashwin 6-46) & 367 (Chandimal 162*; Ashwin 4-114) beat India 375 (Dhawan 134, Kohli 103; Kaushal 5-134) & 112 (Herath 7-48) by 63 runs
OPPOSITION ATTACK: Ravi Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Harbhajan Singh, Varun Aaron, Ishant Sharma
One of the great comeback wins. The hosts conceded a deficit of 192 runs on first innings, a seemingly decisive advantage for an India team that is hard to beat in low-scoring affairs on turning pitches.
Dinesh Chandimal had other ideas. After scoring 59 out of his team’s first-innings 183, he came to the crease at 92-4, apparently just to make things respectable for a team that had lost six of their previous 25 Tests at this famous ground.
When Angelo Mathews was dismissed in the next over, Sri Lanka trailed by 97 runs and were staring at a defeat before tea on day three in the face. Chandimal’s response was a lesson in how to be positive against the turning ball, as well as showing his expertise in marshalling the tail.
He scored 77 of a 125-run stand with Lahiru Thirimanne and consolidated in letting the aggressive Jehan Mubarak hit 49 of their 82 partnership for the seventh wicket, before accelerating again to record 51 of the 65 runs the last three wickets produced.
Exactly 100 of Chandimal’s 162 runs came in boundaries, with 38 of those coming off the bowling of Ashwin. The buccaneering keeper hit 54 off the 48 balls he faced from India’s key bowler, who took 4-60 in 20.2 overs against all other batsmen in the innings.
Chandimal’s third-innings masterpiece set India a total of 176, which they barely threatened in being routed by Rangana Herath. The left-arm spinner took the final accolades, but Chandimal was rightly named Man of the Match.
Great innings change the course of a match and are often characterised by being a big score against a tough attack in testing conditions. Chandimal’s unbeaten 162 fulfilled all of those criteria in style.
‘DINESH PLAYED AN UNBELIEVABLE KNOCK’
Even though we conceded a 170-run lead on first innings, Dinesh Chandimal’s brilliance on the third day put us in with a chance. Right through that third day we were positive, and Dinesh was irresistible; he repeatedly swept, reverse-swept and got down the track. It was so hard playing Ravi Ashwin because he was really ragging it, so we had to attack. That helped us because it gave us clarity in our thinking. Dinesh played an unbelievable knock, one of the best I’ve seen on a turning track. He made very smart choices.
Kumar Sangakkara, AOC 132