It was a forgone conclusion at Mohali and it was not unexpected. Even the best sides from Sri Lanka struggled to win a Test match in India and thus, the expectation with the current Sri Lankan unit was low – but still, the optimists thought, a miracle might happen. Well, the ending was a bitter one from Sri Lanka’s point of view.
— ICC (@ICC) March 6, 2022
On Day 1, Sri Lanka managed to deny Virat Kohli even a fifty in his 100th Test.
They didn’t let Hanuma Vihari convert his fifty into a hundred in his 100th first-class match. By the end of the day, though, they might have regretted getting them out because it brought Rishabh Pant to the middle, who went from 50 to 96 in 19 delightful balls and ended up dismissed in the 90s for the fifth time in his career. India racked up 357 for 6 in just 85 overs.
On day 2, India’s bowlers brought all their quality to bear on a pitch just beginning to offer turn and variable bounce to bag a fifth of the wickets they need to win the Mohali Test, after Ravindra Jadeja made an unbeaten 175, the highest score by an Indian No. 7, to help them post a formidable first-innings total.
Rishabh Pant’s 96 snatched the game away and he was thrilling to watch. But just as satisfying is to see his work behind the stumps standing up to the spinners
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) March 6, 2022
Jadeja and R Ashwin would make a serious impact with the ball in the final session of the day, picking up three of the four Sri Lankan wickets to fall. Well before that, though, they put on a smooth, untroubled century stand to snuff out any hope Sri Lanka may have had when day two began with India 357 for 6. Jadeja then added an unbroken 103 with Mohammed Shami for the ninth wicket, their runs coming at more than a run a ball against a flagging attack and a ragged pack of fielders, before India declared.
Day 3 was a day of landmarks and milestones for India.
Jadeja became only the sixth man to score 150 or more and take a five-for in the same Test.
Ravindra Jadeja can:
Turn a match with his fielding
Win a match with the bat
Win a series with the ball
— Wasim Jaffer (@WasimJaffer14) March 5, 2022
Ashwin went past Kapil Dev as the second-highest wicket-taker for India. In the process, Sri Lanka collapsed under the weight of a relentless India attack and lost 16 wickets in 67 overs to lose by an innings and 222 runs inside three days. Jadeja, who ended one wicket short of becoming the first man to score 150 or more in a Test innings and take 10 wickets in the same match, ended his third straight Mohali Test as the Player of the Match.
The longest resistance Sri Lanka offered was a 17-over partnership in the second innings between Angelo Mathews and Dhananjaya de Silva, followed by the 15 overs it took India to take the first wicket in the morning. Six wickets fell for 13 runs in 43 balls to encourage Rohit Sharma to enforce the follow-on.
In the four overs possible before lunch, Ashwin gave India the first wicket just like in the first innings. With this edge from Lahiru Thirimanne to second slip, the result of dip and turn, Ashwin has taken Thirimanne out seven times for 50 runs in Tests, and 14 times for 140 runs in international cricket.
It took a special delivery to get rid of Sri Lanka’s best batter, Dimuth Karunaratne. Shami angled it in from round the wicket, making him play, but the ball hit the seam and moved away slightly to take a soft edge that Pant took diving in front. His best grab was yet to come, though.
Thank you so much Paijee. A text message from you made my day even sweeter? https://t.co/fXuueGBICH
— Ashwin ?? (@ashwinravi99) March 6, 2022
Mathews and de Silva now got a bit of a partnership, but Jadeja came back to separate them. de Silva got too ambitious with the driving, and Jadeja inevitably got the ball to dip and draw an aerial response for short extra cover to take.
The flood gates opened then with the next three wickets falling at the same score of 121. The first of those was Asalanka, edging Ashwin to slip in the first over after tea, which took Ashwin to 435 Test wickets. In the course of the match, Ashwin overtook Richard Hadlee, Rangana Herath and Kapil. Dale Steyn at 439 wickets remains in his sights.
Once Jadeja got Mathews out with a ball turned from middle and leg, it was only a matter of time. Time has been short for Lakmal, who bagged his pair with a second heave in five balls of batting.
Dickwella hung around with the tail, but Jadeja reached his ninth wicket with a lovely catch from Pant when the ball stayed low, turned less than expected and took a healthy deviation from the bat of Embuldeniya.
The last two, though, went to Shami and Ashwin.
Note: Inputs from ESPNcricinfo