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India win Test series in Sri Lanka after 22 years

Last updated on: September 01, 2015 16:39 IST
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India win third Test by 117 runs

Man of the Match: Cheteshwar Pujara

Man of the Series: Ravichandran Ashwin

IMAGE: Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma celebrate a dismissal during the third Test in Colombo. Photograph: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

India beat Sri Lanka by 117 runs in the third and final Test in Colombo on Tuesday and registered their first series triumph in the island nation in 22 years.

Chasing a daunting target of 386, the hosts collapsed after skipper Angelo Mathews was out for 110 -- his seventh Test century -- and were dismissed for 268.

The 2-1 victory gave Virat Kohli his first series win since taking over the captaincy from Mahendra Singh Dhoni last year, and India their first overseas series triumph since June 2011 when they defeated the West Indies.

- Scorecard

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who was later named Man of the Series for his tally of 21 wickets in the series, was the pick of the Indian bowlers, claiming four wickets for 69 runs, while pacer Ishant Sharma scalped three for 32 and Umesh Yadav two for 65.

Cheteshwar Pujara, who scored an unbeaten 145 in India's first innings, was declared man of the match.

India last won a Test series in Sri Lanka (1-0) under Mohammad Azharuddin's captaincy in 1993.

On an absorbing final day's play, the visitors took two quick wickets in the morning session before Mathews and debutant Kusal Perera (70) scripted a spirited fightback with a resolute 135-run partnership for the sixth wicket, the second-highest stand in the fourth innings in Sri Lanka's Test history.

Roy Dias and Duleep Mendis hold the record of biggest fourth innings partnership with a 214-run stand.

The final day's action was, however, not without drama as Kusal Perera was involved in a heated exchange with Indian players.

Ashwin took the last wicket, that of Nuwan Pradep, triggering scenes of wild celebration in the dressing room even as the players hugged each other and picked up the stumps for mementos.

The off-spinner also provided the vital breakthrough with Perera’s scalp and broke the sixth-wicket partnership between Mathews and Perera.

The second new ball, taken after tea break, then turned the tide India's way as Ishant got rid of Mathews in the first over.

Earlier, with the pitch easing out and India rotating their bowlers in short spells, Mathews and Perera made merry at the crease.

Their 50-run partnership came off only 85 balls as Sri Lanka crossed the 100-mark. In the first hour after lunch, they added 39 runs in 13 overs with the match hanging in balance. Then the 200-mark came up in the 68th over.

Angelo Mathews

IMAGE: Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews hits a boundary. Photograph: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

On their part, the Indian bowlers did not lose control of their line and length. But the partnership increased as time passed and Mathews-Perera put on 100 runs off 186 balls. Perera scored his second half-century of the match, reaching there off 89 balls.

It was Mathews who was the star of the day, though, reaching his second consecutive hundred in the series off 217 balls.

He should have been out lef before at 93 but umpire Nigel Llong denied Mishra in the 70th over on account of an inside edge which wasn’t there. It almost looked as if India would go wicket-less in the session, but Ashwin returned one last time before the tea break to remove Perera.

The batsman threw his hard work away, going for a reverse sweep and hitting straight to Rohit Sharma at point, four overs before tea. Rangana Herath (3) was the unbeaten batsman at the other end.

Earlier, India kept calling the shots by reducing the hosts to 134 for 5 by lunch. The hosts started the day at their overnight score of 67 for 3. With the ball still relatively new, Ashwin completed his over from day four evening and was immediately taken off.

The pacers were deployed immediately, with Yadav and Ishant beginning proceedings in earnest.

Ishant should have taken a wicket in his very first over of the morning, when Mathews edged a delivery behind, but off a no-ball. The Lankan skipper then denied any straight chance for the rest of the session as he went on to score a half-century off 118 balls.

Sri Lanka had won the toss and elected to field first, but only 15 overs were possible after persistent rain washed out the remainder of the first day’s play.

On Day 2, Pujara scored his seventh Test hundred as India scored 312 runs in their first innings.

Fifteen wickets fell on Day 3 as the Lankans were bowled out for 201 runs and conceded a 111-run lead.

On Day 4, India scored 274 runs in their second innings and took and overall lead of 385 runs.

Lanka won the first Test in Galle by 63 runs, and India came back with a 278-run win at the P Sara Oval in the second.

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