Kohli's men complete historic whitewash

India won the third and final Test by an innings and 171 runs to seal the series 3-0, as Sri Lanka was bowled out for a meagre 181 in its second outing.

India outplayed Sri Lanka in all facets of the game across the three Tests.   -  AFP

Virat Kohli sat on the staircase, the India cap slung low over his head, his eyes focused on his cellphone. The minutes ticked away and a Monday evening waned.

Inside the press-conference hall within the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium premises, Dinesh Chandimal was holding court in Sinhala, speaking in a sing-song manner, pausing often. It was a picture of a distressed host captain trying to keep up his dignity.

Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The seconds stretched and as Chandimal’s inquisition by the Sri Lankan scribes extended, Kohli walked in discreetly, leant on the corner wall, texted a bit, read some messages, smiled to himself and then gazed at the packed room. Yet he had to wait his turn to address the media.

It was the only time when he looked a wee-bit lost and had to bank on patience. But earlier on the field, the Indian skipper had no such hassles. A scheduled press conference could be delayed but not an emphatic triumph.

One-sided

Kohli’s men won the third and final Test by an innings and 171 runs to seal the series 3-0. Sri Lanka was bowled out for 181 in its second outing.

The verdict was a reiteration of India’s overwhelming dominance. If the Tests at Galle and Colombo were each pocketed with a day to spare, the concluding contest was secured with still two days remaining! It was a story of the No. 1 team maximising its strengths against a wilting host. 

Mohammed Shami (right) took three wickets on the final day. Photo: AP

 

The third day dawned with Sri Lanka following-on and resuming at 19 for one and gaping at a 333-run deficit. Dimuth Karunaratne and night-watchman Malinda Pushpakumara had the onerous task of attempting to bat for long hours. But the soul-stirring fight-back proved elusive. In the third over, Karunaratne, rooted to the crease and stunned by the extra bounce that R. Ashwin extracted, edged to slip.

Mohammed Shami then flung a few knives, his line asking probing questions around off-stump and topped with a hint of swing, just enough to unsettle the willow wielders. Pushpakumara nibbled and perished, Kusal Mendis shuffled across and got his pad rapped. Sri Lanka tottered at 39 for four and a question arose – will the side be bowled out before lunch.

Brief resistance

That ignominy was avoided as Chandimal and Angelo Mathews commenced their 65-run fifth-wicket partnership spread over 166 deliveries on either side of the break. The Sri Lankan skipper threaded fours with elegant drives, Mathews as usual was about the muscular hoick but at least there was a semblance of a resistance.

Dinesh Chandimal top scored for Sri Lanka in the second innings with 36. Photo: AP

 

Ashwin was forced off the back-foot, Kuldeep Yadav was lofted and for the few fans, those were the only moments of cheer.

Chandimal, though, succumbed to Kuldeep, tapping straight to Cheteshwar Pujara at short-leg. Niroshan Dickwella walked in and knelt low and slog-swept the chinaman, one of those embers from a dying flame. The sweep-bug bit Mathews and when he tried to replicate that stroke, he missed and Ashwin’s appeal for lbw was approved. The distraught batsman sought a review, failed to reverse the verdict and retreated.

Last rites

Dickwella clattered a few fours and watched Dilruwan Perera and Lakshan Sandakan depart with Ashwin and Shami being the wreckers-in-chief. Sri Lanka’s wicketkeeper-batsman eventually fell to Umesh Yadav. Trying to guide one past slip, Dickwella found the safe hands of Ajinkya Rahane.

And when Lahiru Kumara defended without a clue and found Ashwin disturbing his timber, it marked the finish-line for another one-sided clash. It was time for the Indian camp to do the high-fives and the hugs while Kohli sought his stump-souvenir.

The Indian first innings prospered for 122 overs while Sri Lanka, with both its digs combined, lasted just 112.1. It summed up a script that was devoid of any surprises and highlighted one certainty – the mind-boggling superiority of Kohli’s men.