India-A hammered Sri Lanka 'A' by an innings and 205 runs on the penultimate day of the first unofficial ‘Test’, at KSCA Stadium here on Monday.
Sri Lanka-A barely put up a fight, and was bowled out for 232 and 185. Rahul Chahar, with match-figures of eight for 123, was the wrecker-in-chief.
The leg-spinner outwitted the batsmen with variations in flight. When tossed up outside off, he brought the slip cordon into play. The flatter deliveries had the batsmen on the back-foot and in all sorts of trouble.
Resuming on 83 for four, the visitor required a couple of big scores to stay in the game. Niroshan Dickwella (103, 115b, 15x4) provided hope, in a counter-attacking knock of high quality. The southpaw regularly used the reverse-sweep to defy spinners Chahar and Jayant Yadav. It was a brave approach fraught with risk, but it paid off.
Dickwella put on a 111-run fifth-wicket partnership with skipper Ashan Priyanjan (49, 87b, 8x4, 1x6), before Priyanjan edged one from Jayant to slip. Chamika Karunaratne was the next to go, castled by a terrific flipper from Chahar. Dickwella carried on gamely, until a failed slog off Chahar landed in Ankit Rajpoot’s hands at mid-off.
The Sri Lanka-A first innings ended soon after Dickwella’s departure. Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Dube and Jayant picked up two wickets each.
Pacers on fire
Asked to follow on, the visitors disappointed in the second essay as well. Warrier and Rajpoot tormented the top-order with the new ball, generating good pace and movement. Sri Lanka-A lost three wickets in the first five overs, and it didn’t get much better from here.
Chahar was back in business, accounting for key middle-order wickets in Sadeera Samarawickrama (48, 92b, 6x4), Priyanjan (39, 69b, 7x4) and Karunaratne (20, 20b, 3x4). The tail offered no resistance, bringing a swift end to the one-sided encounter.
The home team suffered a scare when Rajpoot limped off the field with a hamstring injury. It remains to be seen if he will be fit for the second unofficial ‘Test’, which commences at Hubballi on Friday.
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