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Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Sri Lanka hang on for draw after brutal Shami, Bhuvneshwar bursts

Sri Lanka 294 (Herath 67, Mathews 52, Thirimanne 51, Bhuvneshwar 4-88, Shami 4-100) and 75 for 7 (Bhuvneshwar 4-8) drew with India 172 (Pujara 52, Lakmal 4-26) and 352 for 8 dec. (Kohli 104*, Dhawan 94, Rahul 79, Shanaka 3-76, Lakmal 3-93)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Chopra: India timed declaration nicely

Aakash Chopra is all praise for India's seamers and the side's challenging declaration against Sri Lanka on the final day of the Kolkata Test

Virat Kohli's 50th international century set up a fascinating conclusion to the Kolkata Test. It helped India declare at 352 for 8 and set Sri Lanka 231 to win at Eden Gardens. India's seamers, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav, then found conventional seam movement and reverse swing to leave Sri Lanka's middle order battling for survival in rapidly-fading light in a dramatic fifth-day finish. Somehow, Sri Lanka huffed, puffed and prevented India from blowing their house down, with three wickets in hand.

After hours lost to rain over the first two days, the match came down to the final few minutes, with Shami and Bhuvneshwar hurrying back to their mark and Sri Lanka trying to delay the game to force a draw. Eventually, the light was deemed unfit at 4.28pm local, around the same time play was called off on the fourth day.

In seven tentative overs prior to tea, Sri Lanka lost their openers Sadeera Samarawickrama and Dimuth Karunaratne, both chopping on to wide deliveries they had no reason to play at. India's quicks got the ball to move again, not prodigiously but sufficiently, up until that point. First-innings half-centurions Angelo Mathews and Lahiru Thirimanne were dismissed soon after tea, opening up an out-of-form middle order.

Dinesh Chandimal and Niroshan Dickwella stalled India's momentum with a feisty 47-run stand. At one stage in that stand, India's frustration with Dickwella backing away from facing Shami boiled over to a point where the umpires needed to intervene. It ate into time, but that didn't deter India.

Sri Lanka's task was made significantly harder by Bhuvneshwar and Shami both producing varying degrees of movement. Shami went through Chandimal's defenses with a sharp inswinger, while an indipper pitched a tad shorter beat Dilruwan Perera on the outside edge, and knocked into his off stump. Three middle-order wickets in 28 balls gave India a sniff, but in the end, bad light put an end to a riveting Test.

That India were given a chance was down to Kohli's 18th Test century. Batsmen treasure centuries in such challenging conditions and Kohli's was a classy effort. Prior to lunch, he was in a battle of attrition. He survived a close call when he gloved a short delivery past the wicketkeeper to get off a pair, but left well thereafter. When Sri Lanka erred too full, he drove through the line, accumulating more than half of his runs - 22 of 41 - in the arc between cover and mid-on.

India lost R Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha to tame strokes after lunch, but Kohli remained watchful. It was only when Sri Lanka took the new ball that something changed. A half-lunge meant to help him play close to the body while defending gave way to a confident, long stride and free-flowing shots. Sri Lanka's seamers were looking for wickets, and rightly bowling full, but with hardly any swing, Kohli met the ball as early as possible as he drove and flicked merrily. He made 46 runs off 26 balls since the 80th over.

In the 83rd though, Kohli was given out lbw off the bowling of Lakmal when he missed a routine flick. He reviewed immediately, and replays showed a thin inside edge. Back came the swagger: a jig with the 12th man, cheerful smiles with Bhuvneshwar and more importantly, the full range of attacking strokes.

Sri Lanka, though, dominated the majority of the first two sessions. Suranga Lakmal was the only bowler to hit a high 130 kmph range and produce appreciable lateral movement. First, he set KL Rahul up with a few deliveries hung outside off. Rahul stayed patient, waiting for Lakmal to overpitch. Then came the big, booming inducker, attacking the pads and stumps. Rahul's balance was thrown off by the change in line as he fell over a flick, and the ball found a considerable gap between bat and pad.

He produced the ball of the morning to have Cheteshwar Pujara, who became the ninth player to bat on all five days of a Test, caught at gully. A back of a length delivery kicked up off the pitch a lot higher than Pujara expected and it lobbed over to Dilruwan at gully, who took a sharp, low catch. Four balls later, Lakmal had another good-length delivery hooping back in to beat Ajinkya Rahane's inside edge and trap him lbw for 0. With the ball moving both ways, Sri Lanka believed they had a fair chance on their own terms. India though, like they have done on several occasions in home Tests over the last few years, turned the tables drastically on the visitors.

Kohli's 50th

0

No. of batsman to score 50 centuries in International cricket in fewer inns than Kohli who got there in his 348th inns. Amla also took 348 inns for the same.

Lakmal's best

0

No. of times Lakmal had picked more than six wickets in a Test, before this in his 39 matches. Rahane's wicket in the second inns was his 7th wicket of the match.

On and on

9

No. of batsmen to bat on all 5 days of a Test, including Pujara this Test. He's the third among India batsman and all have done this at Eden Gardens.

After a long time

2010

Last occasion of India having a century opening stand in their 2nd inns of a Test, which was against SA in Centurion. Rahul and Dhawan have done that in this match.

Seamers 10, spinners 0

3

No. of instances of India fast bowlers picking all 10 wickets in a Test innings at home, including this match. The last such instance was in 1983-84 against West Indies at Ahmedabad and first v Eng, Mumbai, 1981-82.

Rare high for pacers

1986

Last instance of 3 India fast bowlers picking 2 or more wickets in the same innings of a home Test, as did Bhuvneshwar, Umesh and Shami in this game. Overall, this is only the 4th such occasion for India at home.

Sri Lanka leading

2010

Last time Sri Lanka gained first innings lead against India, before this match, which was in Galle. Since then India had got the lead in 8 Tests.

Ends a drought

12.09

Thirimanne's average in his last 11 Test innings, with highest of 22. He has scored a fifty in this match.

Second-lowest

1

No. of lower totals for India against Sri Lanka at home, than the 172 in this Test. The lowest is 167 in Chennai in 2005.

Mr. Consistent

13

Cheteshwar Pujara has made at least one 50+ score in 13 of the 17 Tests since the start of 2016-17 season.

Something rare

2010

Last instance of India losing first 5 wkts for 50 or fewer runs in a Test inns at home, before this match. That had happened against NZ at Ahmedabad. Overall, its the 17th instance at home and 5th in about last 30 years.

Dots, dots, dots

46

No. of deliveries bowled by Suranga Lakmal before conceding his first run in this innings - the most by any bowler since 2001. Previous: 40 balls by Jerome Taylor v Aus, Jamaica, 2015.

In & Out

6

No. of India batsmen to get out on the first ball of a Test, including KL Rahul in this game. The last was Wasim Jaffer in 2007 v Bangladesh. Rahul had scored 7 successive fifties before this.

No joy yet

0-10

Sri Lanka's win-loss record in Tests in India, in 17 previous outings. 8 of the 10 defeats have been by margin of an innings and they are yet to win a Test in India.