Ashwin spins Sri Lanka as India take massive 439-run lead
Colombo : Ravichandran Ashwin clinched a five-wicket haul as India bowled out Sri Lanka for 183 runs in the first innings to take a massive lead of 439 runs at lunch on the third day of the second cricket Test here on Saturday.
With Indian captain Virat Kohli deciding to enforce the follow on, the Lankans face an uphill battle in their bid to stave off defeat.
Ashwin ended up with figures of 5/69 in 16.4 overs. Fast bowler Mohammed Shami bowled superbly for figures of 2/13 while left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja returned 2/84. Fast bowler Umesh Yadav also bagged a wicket.
This is the 26th five-wicket haul for Ashwin in Test cricket, achieving the feat in his 51st appearance in the longest format of the game. He is placed second in the all-time list among Indian bowlers. Former leg-spinner Anil Kumble is at the top spot with 35 hauls from 132 Test matches.
Harbhajan Singh is third with 25 hauls from 103 Tests, the legendary Kapil Dev is placed fourth with 23 from 131 while B.S. Chandrashekhar has 16 from 58.
This is also the third highest first innings lead for India. The highest is 492 against Bangladesh in Dhakain 2007 while the lead of 478 runs against West Indies in the Kolkata Test of 2011 is second on the list.
Niroshan Dickwella was the highest scorer among the Lankans with a quickfire 51 runs off 48 deliveries which included seven boundaries and a six.
Resuming the day at 50/2, Sri Lanka lost wickets in quick succession. Quite a few of the Lankan batsmen managed to get decent starts but were unable to convert them into big scores.
Dinesh Chandimal and Kusal Mendis departed shortly after the start of the day's play before Dickwella and Angelo Mathews managed to hold the Indian bowlers at bay for a short while with a 53-run stand.
However, that only proved to be a short respite for the hosts and as soon as both departed in consecutive overs, the Indian bowlers were back on top.
The rest of the Lankan batsmen could not last on a pitch which was taking quite a bit of turn as the Indians tightened their grip on the match.
Sri Lanka (first innings): 183 (Niroshan Dickwella 51; Ravichandran Ashwin 5/69) vs India (first innings): 622/9 declared.