News Karnataka
Tuesday, March 21 2023

Galle Test: India stretch lead to 44 at the end of the first session

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India has gradually stretched its lead, and left the Sri Lankan fielders with a forlorn look on their faces. They need a spark of inspiration from somewhere to stay in the game. To make it worse for them, Mathews was off the field due to a fever and Thirimanne had to shoulder the responsibility of captaining the side. As far as the tourists are concerned, they will just look to pile on the runs and get a huge first innings lead.
In between, the southpaw cracked sparkling drives to keep the scoreboard moving. He reached his hundred with a trademark drive through the cover region. Remember, he also cracked a century in the one-off Test against Bangladesh in Fatullah. His partner at the other end, Kohli has been a bit circumspect. However, when presented with a loose ball on offer, he has taken a heavy toll of it. Kohli, too, looks set to compose a hundred. For Sri Lanka, none of their bowlers were impressive. Even Rangana Herath was off-colour. Kaushal, the off-spinner, bowled a few wicket-taking deliveries, but lacked the control. The wicket, too, seems to have flattened out.

Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli turned out to be the rocks for the tourists as they soaked up the pressure with the bat to build a commanding position. If Dhawan amassed his fourth Test century, then Kohli compiled a handy fifty. However, it has to be said that Dhawan has had his fair share of close shaves. He was dropped by Angelo Mathews late on Day 1 and survived a loud shout for lbw today. On both occasions, Tharindu Kaushal was the bowler.

The one noticeable thing in this session has been the total lack of intensity from the Lankans in the field. The keeper Chandimal who is usually a chirpy character has been silent and the entire team’s body language suggests that they are waiting for things to happen instead of making it happen. Just going through the motions. No encouragement on view in the field and that has made the Indian batsmen’s job easy. Too often the strike was rotated as the fielders weren’t alert enough. All in all a totally disappointing and lethargic session from the Sri Lankans. Very poor cricket from them.

The batsmen walk off sharing a joke and a smile. The team director, Ravi Shastri seems a happy man.

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