Rishabh Pant put the Sri Lankan attack to the sword with a record-breaking half-century, while Shreyas Iyer whipped another measured fifty to put India in full control of the second test in Bengaluru on Sunday. Pant’s 31-ball 50 and Iyer’s 67-run knockout after a useful contribution from the best hitters meant India gave Sri Lanka a massive 447-run goal after calling their second innings 303 for nine. The struggling visitors would need no less than a miraculous show to save the match after finishing the second day at 28 to one.
Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne (10) and Kusal Mendis (16) will resume the Sri Lankan pursuit on Monday morning.
With plenty of time at their disposal after bundling Sri Lanka for 109 in the first session of the day for a 143 lead in the first innings, Indian batters gained more experience playing pink ball on a wicket assisting spinners.
As in the first innings, it was Pant’s blitzkrieg that forced Sri Lanka into complete submission. He didn’t let them gain momentum after they had breakthroughs. Pant’s game-changing innings left Iyer clear, which certainly helped India extend their lead beyond the 400-run mark.
Iyer carried from where he started in the first innings and scored 67 off 87 balls using nine shots on the fence.
There is never a dull moment when Pant is in the fold and it hasn’t changed today. He cut, drew, swept, reverse swept, drove, loaded the wicket at will and lifted his fifty to just 28 balls with 40 of those runs coming within the limits.
It was the fastest Test fifty by an Indian, with Kapil Dev erasing a 30-ball attempt against Pakistan in 1982. He fell for an even 50, becoming the third scalp of left arm spinner Praveen Jayawickrama (4/78).
The Indians scored at a good pace throughout the day, with Lankan bowlers failing to take advantage of the spin-friendly conditions.
Rohit was calculating in shot selection before lofting off-spinner Dhananjaya de Silva straight to Angelo Mathews for 46. His footwork looked good, sweeping most of the left arm spinners and storming down the wicket to smother De Silva’s off-spin .
However, he couldn’t resist the temptation to go after De Silva as he approached half a century.
Before falling back, Rohit added 42 runs with fellow opener Mayank Agarwal (22) and 56 for the second wicket with Hanuma Vihari (35), who also screwed up a solid start.
Agarwal shoved one from left spinner Lasith Embuldeniya (3/87), who got the ball away from a good length and let the Indian catch by De Silva.
Vihari, who would most like to be in the number three spot, missed a straight from Jayawickrama and lost his punch.
Jayawickrama also sent Virat Kohli (13), who has fallen before, back and his quest for that elusive 71st international hundred only got longer. He is now without an international hundred in 73 innings. It was another delivery that stayed low and he was stuck on the back foot.
The string of low scores means Kohli is now on average under 50 after years of consistency. In the morning session, fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah (5/24) completed his eighth haul from five wicket and home first, as India polished off the Sri Lankan lower order in an instant.
Sri Lanka resumed at 86 for six and India needed less than 30 minutes to complete their innings. Bumrah and off-spinner R Ashwin (2/30) each scalped two batters as Sri Lanka’s sloppy display continued.
Stumper batter Niroshan Dickwella (21) led off with consecutive boundaries on Bumrah. He opened the front of the bat to carefully place the ball between the holes.
Ashwin threw as expected from the other side and immediately confused Embuldeniya (1), spinning his balls from the rough.
Embuldeniya couldn’t handle a short from Bumrah as she missed a tug to be caught by Rishabh Pant. That was an irresponsible shot given the circumstances.
Surnaga Lakmal showed intent to stick to the wicket but couldn’t read Ashwin’s carrombal and saw his wood disturbed. This was immediately after he raised one over the middle for a border.
Bumrah completed his five wicket haul when he caught Dickwella behind him. The short ball bounced off the track, hitting the shoulder of the bat before going into Pants gloves.
Vishwa Fernando went after Ashwin in the next over, but was soon tricked by another carrombal and was stunned by Pant when the batter had lunged forward.
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