The weather played a huge part in deciding the outcome of the first test between India and Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens, Kolkata as rain washed out nearly two days of play. Sri Lanka won the toss and asked India to bat on a pitch that offered a lot for the fast bowlers and immediately had India in trouble.
Sri Lanka Scare India
India was 4-30 in no time as R Lakmal ran through the top order and the Lankans had a great chance to finish India quickly. However the lower order put together some useful partnerships to take India to 172. Sri Lanka started their first innings well as H Thirimanne and ex-captain A Matthews made half centuries and were set to give Sri Lanka a good lead but B Kumar and M Shami took wickets at regular intervals to bring India back into the match.
R Herath scored 67 useful runs down the order to give the Lankans a lead over 100. India came back well in the second innings as K Rahul and S Dhawan put together a 166 run partnership to give India the lead. A draw was expected on the fifth day but India made things exciting by playing their shots and trying to set Sri Lanka a total to chase. However quick wickets forced India to abandon their strategy and then play for safety. Captain Virat Kohli finished unbeaten on104 and set Sri Lanka a target of 231.
Rain Forces Draw
The Lankans never had any chance of going after the total as India’s fast bowlers struck quickly to have Sri Lanka reeling at 4-22. Captain Chandimal and N Dickwella put together a partnership to steady things but India would strike three more times before bad light called off play yet again and the match ended in a draw. It would have been very interesting to see how the match would have played out, if the first two days were not impacted by rain.
Sri Lanka will now head into the second test at Nagpur with a lot of confidence as they know they rattled the Indian battling line-up at Eden Gardens. India will go into the second test match which starts on November 24 knowing they need to make a stronger statement and secure a win in the three match test series.