India defeated Sri Lanka by massive 278 runs in the second cricket Test to level the three-match series just after lunch on the fifth and final day on Monday. Set a daunting target of 413, the islanders caved in rather tamely to bundled out for a meagre 134 in 43.4 overs shortly after lunch break to allow the Indians to restore parity in the three-match series. Wily off-spinner Ashwin again did the bulk of the damage with superb figures of 5 for 42 as the Lankans capitulated spectacularly to give Virat Kohli his first Test win as captain with almost two full sessions to spare. It was a commendable show by the Indians, who dominated the match right from the first day and made amends for their shock defeat in the first Test in Galle where they lost despite being the driver’s seat for most part of the game. It was a disappointing end to Sangakkara’s stellar career as he not only failed with the bat in both the innings but had to deal with the added misery of seeing his team go down with embarrassing ease. Nobody expected the game to end so quickly as Sri Lanka lost lost 7 wickets for 58 runs at lunch break, which was taken early owing to a rain interruption. Leg-spinner Amit Mishra trapped last man standing Dushmantha Chameera (4) to seal the issue triggering off scenes of celebration in the Indian dressing room while the players hugged each other on the field. India took five deliveries after lunch to wrap up the proceedings and bring themselves back in the series. Apart from Ashwin’s mesmerising bowling effort, leg-spinner Amit Mishra chipped in with 3 wickets for 29 runs, while the pace duo of Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav claimed a wicket apiece. For the home team, opener Dimuth Karunaratne provided a semblance of resistance with a gritty 46-run knock, which came off 103 balls. None of the other top-order batsmen could hang around for long, making the job easier for the rampaging Indians. The two teams will now face off for the series-decider from August 28 at the Sinhalese Sports Club here. The third Test begins at the SSC in Colombo on August 28.
2015 Kashmir Despatch