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Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Jadeja's five-for wraps up India's first innings win in Sri Lanka

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Dasgupta: India now have an established XI (1:32)

Deep Dasgupta believes India's home season in 2016-17 has helped them identify and groom the right players for the balance they need as a team to win Test matches (1:32)

India 622 for 9 dec (Pujara 133, Rahane 132, Jadeja 70, Saha 67, Rahul 57, Ashwin 54, Herath 4-154) beat Sri Lanka 183 (Dickwella 51, Ashwin 5-69) and 386 (f/o) (Karunaratne 142, Mendis 110, Jadeja 5-152) by an innings and 53 runs

India wrapped up a series victory away from home in eight days of Test cricket. And they were only really challenged over the last two. The formalities were completed four minutes before tea with Ravindra Jadeja picking up his ninth five-for in the same match he became the fastest left-armer to 150 wickets.

He was far from the only protagonist of an absorbing game in Colombo. There were backs-to-the-wall-and-nose-to-the-barrel hundreds from Kusal Mendis and Dimuth Karunaratne, which will certainly give Sri Lanka hope for the future, but in the present they just weren't enough.

And finally, a mention for the pitch, which made balls scoot and bounce and rag and slip into other dimensions and come back a pineapple.

The result of this Test - India's first innings win in Sri Lanka - was evident from the moment they racked up a total of 622 and enforced the follow-on. Oppositions forced into this predicament need a bit of a hero and Karunaratne stepped up. He was in his element, of course. Four of his six Test hundreds have come in the second innings - and this will rank alongside the 152 he made in New Zealand in 2014, when an axe hung over his head.

Karunarante might not have got there had KL Rahul held a relatively straightforward chance at short leg in the 90s, but mistakes such as those were rare, simply because he didn't want them happening. That determination made sure he concentrated harder, which in turn helped him play close to his body, and with a soft touch. It was only after batting three full sessions on this treacherous surface that he was dislodged.

Jadeja made one take off like a rocket. It lobbed off the glove and landed safely in Ajinkya Rahane's hands at slip. Karunaratne walked back after handshakes and pats on the back. There really was no shame in losing your wicket to a ball that behaved like the stuff of NASA's dreams.

Such unplayable deliveries were expected of Jadeja the moment he was armed with monstrous scoreboard pressure. But he had to wait 23 overs to make his first strike. He was the man locked in the bathrooms at a going-out-of-business sale.

For the most part, that was because he was bowling quick - which is advisable since it gives the batsman less time to deal with the turn - but on a good length, which meant the edges were beaten a lot more than they were taken. On a normal track, he could have had success quicker. On this one, he couldn't until he went fuller. Eventually, Jadeja found his rhythm - his fitness allows for him to wait as long as needed - and Sri Lanka were done for.

Dinesh Chandimal was nipped at slip. Angelo Mathews was undone by extra bounce and a spectacular catch by Wriddhiman Saha, taken somewhere around his shoulder while standing up to the stumps. Dilruwan Perera premeditated a trip down the track and paid for it. And Dhananjaya de Silva was taken by Rahane behind the wicket as he came forward to take a low chance. India's close-in fielders - barring familiar errors from Virat Kohli - were top class.

And they had to be because Sri Lanka, hurt after folding for 183 in the first innings, were sturdier. Even the nightwatchman Malinda Pushpakumara hung around for 45 minutes this morning. As much as that is a credit to his defensive technique, it also suggested the pitch, in the fourth day had slowed down. Well done, heavy roller.

So India needed to keep their disciplines now more than ever. To force the batsman into feeling the pressure sharper. To feed his doubts and lure out a false shot. Having done so, they will savour this win all the more. And if that doesn't make it special, how about this: India have won all eight of their most recent Test series. One more and they'll equal the world record.

All-rounders' double blast

3

Instances of 2 players from a team with 50+ and 5-for in a Test, including Ashwin & Jadeja this match. Others: Giffen-Trott v Eng 1895 & Bresnan-Broad v Ind 2011.

Karunaratne goes big

2

No. of higher scores for SL when following-on, than Karunaratne's 141. The highest is by Karunaratne himself, when he made 152 in Christchurch in Dec 2014.

Third-innings player

4

No. of centuries for Karunaratne in 3rd inns of Tests in last 3 years. No other batsman has scored more than 2 such 100s in this period.

Counter-attacking stand

142

Previous highest partnership for SL when following-on, by Mathews-Samaraweera in Cape Town 2011-12. Karunaratne-Mendis have added over 150 runs.

Big deficit

439

SL's first-innings deficit in this match, their highest ever in Test history. For India, it's their third-biggest first-innings lead.

Very quick

32

No. of Tests taken by Jadeja to reach 150 wickets, the quickest by any left-arm bowler. Mitchell Johnson was the previous quickest, in 34 Tests.

Big score

2

No. of larger totals by visiting teams in Sri Lanka than India's 622/9 in this match. India had scored 707 at this same venue in 2010 and B'desh 638 in Galle in 2012-13.

Combined effort

2

No. of instances of 6 Ind batsmen scoring 50+ in an away Test, including today. The first time was at The Oval in 2007.

Ashwin's double

0

No. of players to complete 2000+ runs and 250+ wkts in their career in fewer Tests than Ashwin, who has done it in his 51st Test. Hadlee had got there in his 54th.

Love for second Tests

5

No. of centuries for Rahane in the 2nd matches of a Test series, in 17 innings. He has only 4 centuries in 50 innings of other matches of a series.

Three in three

3

No. of centuries for Pujara in as many Tests in Sri Lanka. He had made 145* at SSC in 2015 and 153 in Galle before this century.

Match of milestones

4

No. of India batsmen to aggregate over 4000 runs in first 50 Tests, including Pujara. Gavaskar (4947), Dravid (4135) and Sehwag (4103) are the others.

Left-arm spin trouble

34.25

Kohli's ave against left-arm spin bowlers in Tests this year, getting out 4 times in 10 inns. Before this year, he averaged 170.50 and got out only twice.

Rahul's hot streak

6

No. of consecutive 50+ scores for KL Rahul, including today's knock. Viswanath and Dravid are the only other India batsmen to do so.

Landmark test

50

No. of Tests for Pujara. This is the 50th match of his Test career.