Post-match: Sri Lanka walk away with a hard-fought draw. Dropped catches, missed stumpings and no-balls plagued India through this Test. India will look to address these issues as they look ahead to South Africa. Dickwella reveals that Sri Lanka went for the win till Dhananjaya was around.
India win their 9th consecutive Test series: Virat Kohli and Co equal the world record for most consecutive series wins with this draw in Delhi. Some post-match reaction:
STUMPS, Sri Lanka draw the match, India win series 1-0: That’s it, then. The players agree this match is going nowhere and the match ends in a draw. Credit to Sri Lanka for fighting it out on the final day, losing just two wickets. The pitch was benign but this was a great effort.
After 102 overs, SL 298/5: Less than 40 minutes of play left, but the players are just going through the motion now. Shouldn’t be too long before the play is called off, one thinks.
After 97 overs SL 290/5: Into the last hour, and it looks the game could be called off anytime soon. Just a matter of time before players mutually agree to walk off. And also, here’s an interesting thought. Sri Lanka just 120 runs away in the last hour. So everyone who was saying Kohli should have declared with a 350-run lead happy with the captain’s decision now? Clearly knew this pitch had nothing.
After 94 overs, Sri Lanka 283/5: 5 minutes left for the last hour to begin, so make that about 16 overs left for the day. And well, it looks like Sri Lanka have actually upped the ante. Scoring at nearly 5 an over in the last 10 overs. Surely they are not looking to win this match? Dickwella is lucky to be still out there with Saha missing out a stumping with the batsman no where near the crease – the ball bounces high from the rough and throwing Saha off guard. Next over from Jadeja, Dickwella continues to go for his shots but can’t get bat on to anything – a maiden.
After 89 overs, Sri Lanka 260/5: Nothing significant to report folks. Ishant and Jadeja bowling in tandem. There was the odd ball that turned and bounced for Jadeja but other than that, largely untroubled. Heading towards a draw by all likelihood... FIFTY for Roshen Silva too. A fine innings in his debut Test after a duck in the first innings.
After 85 overs, Sri Lanka 243/5: There’s no indication of this match heading anywhere but to a draw. Kohli trying to get the crowd going towards the end of the day in hopes of a breakthrough. Shami and Ishant continue post tea. Dickwella continues to swing at the balls that he thinks are there to be hit, Roshen is more steady in his approach. Some excitement in the air for now...
Meanwhile, big IPL news coming in.
02:30 pm: We are back for one last session of Test cricket between India and Sri Lanka this year, praise be to the cricketing gods. Shami comes steaming in...
Tea at Kotla, Sri Lanka 226/5 after 81 overs: The new ball is taken immediately after 80 overs - this could go either way, as the very first ball suggested with an elegant cover drive by Dickwella off Ishant. Run-scoring and hence, surviving, might be easier. But the Test match here against South Africa was at a similar position at tea on the final day as well, so you never know.
Join us soon for the final session of this series...
After 76 overs, SL 206/5: Dhananjaya retires hurt and Dickwella walks in. Could this be a turning point? Of course he can come back to bat, but a few quick wickets here might be crucial. And once Dickwella comes out, the ball comes out of Vijay’s hand as well with Ashwin being brought back.
After 75 overs, SL 204/5: After every over, Dhananjaya is stretching, lying down on the floor, nursing his strain. He’s barely able to run between the wickets, but he’s still hanging on. This is yet another 50-run partnership and that’s something Sri Lanka have done well – not lose wickets in a bunch, and build partnerships. 200 up, and Sri Lanka have just over a session to fight it out with 5 wickets in hand.
Well, well. Vijay comes on to bowl. Signs India are running out of ideas? Or just waiting for the 2nd new ball.
Hang on, it’s now Kohli from the other end to bowl. The crowd getting excited...
After 70 overs, SL 184/5: Spin from both ends now, it was just a 3-over burst for Shami. A reprieve for de Silva after reaching his century. On 110, he’s put down by Ashwin. Comes down the track and smacks one back at the bowler, the ball explodes back to Ashwin in no time but it’s at a catchable height and Ashwin drops it, as harsh as that sounds. Kohli would hope he hasn’t hurt his bowling arm. Jadeja tries to go over the stumps to Roshen from the other end to use the rough, but he is swept fine for a boundary.
After 66 overs, SL 168/5: WHAT AN INNINGS! 100 up for Dhananjaya. An impressive knock by the 26-year-old. He has batted aggressively through the day. Preventing the Indian bowlers from running away with the game. Dhananjaya, all said and done, has played a peach. Best innings by a Sri Lankan batsman this series so far in our book. Gets there with a punch through covers off Shami. Rohit pats him on the back, Virat is applauding and the Sri Lankan dressing room is on their feet. He’s still hobbling, but boy, has he delivered.
After 63 overs, Sri Lanka 163/5: Shami comes back into the attack to replace Jadeja and gets some good pace in the first over. There is a hint of reverse with the ball tailing back in on a couple of occasions, one of them punched beautifully back by Roshen for four. Ashwin continues from the other end and the struggling Dhananjaya punches him elegantly off the back foot through wide mid-off for four, moves on to 97.
After 61 overs, Sri Lanka 153/5 - Roshen 5, Dhananjaya 91: The Indian spinners sniff an opening and they are looking to make the most of it now. Excellent phase for Jadeja and Ashwin as they tighten the screws on debutant Roshen Silva and the struggling Dhananjaya. No easy singles on offer, the line is targeting the stumps – towards the end of that phase, Roshen shows signs off frustration by dancing down the track but not getting the shot away. Dhananjaya has had another visit from the physio. He’s been stuck in the 90s for a few overs now. There is now definite turn and bounce on offer for Ashwin and Jadeja.
After 55 overs Sri Lanka 147/5, Ashwin strikes: Big breakthrough for India! Kohli’s decision to stick with Ashwin pays dividends. And as he so often does after bowling around 13-14 overs, gets into his groove and removes Captain Chandimal with a brilliant delivery. Like he’s done repeatedly today, Chandimal comes down the track to try and whip it to midwicket, gets almost to the pitch of the ball but there is sharp turn here and it sneaks past him and clips off stump. With de Silva struggling at the other end, this was the last thing Sri Lanka wanted.
After 54 overs, Sri Lanka 144/4 : De Silva batting on 88, is struggling out in the middle. Looks like a back strain? He’s in discomfort running between the wickets and has called for the physio to get some treatment.
100-run partnership, SL 140/4: This is excellent cricket from Sri Lanka post-lunch, especially by de Silva. 7 runs off Ashwin’s over, including a powerful sweep shot for four, and the partnership has reached the 3-figure mark. De Silva moves on 86 as well, heading towards a fine century.
After 50 overs, Sri Lanka 133/4: Dhananjaya starts in belligerent fashion, stepping down the track off the very first ball of the second session and smacks Jadeja straight back for a four. That’s some intent. Ashwin from the other end concedes three runs. Ashwin is getting some turn now, but it’s still slow turn off the pitch – plenty of time for the batsmen to adjust. In the next over, de Silva once again comes down the track to Jadeja and plays an aerial flick through square leg for four.
12:10 pm: All set for the second session and it’s Jadeja with the ball in his hand...
Lunch, Sri Lanka 119/4 - de Silva 72, Chandimal 27: That’s a session that Sri Lanka can be mighty proud of! Just the one wicket (albeit the big one) of Mathews, but Chandimal and especially, Dhananjaya de Silva have frustrated the Indian bowling attack with some positive cricket. This is no blockathon, by any means. That Jadeja no-ball against Chandimal might just prove crucial, given the SL captain’s form.
44th over, Jadeja bowls Chandimal but has overstepped: Drama! Just when the talk was about there is nothing in the pitch for spinners, Jadeja bowls an absolute ripper from around the wicket – he goes wider, bowls a sidearm delivery and gives it a lot of rip, the ball lands with the angle, and straightens and beats Chandimal all ends up. He is absolutely stunned, but not as stunned as Jadeja who finds out he’s overstepped. Got away against Mathews, not so against Chandimal. Although, to be fair, the camera angle is not in line with the crease and it’s incredibly tight to call it either way. Hints of purchase from Ashwin at the other end too.
After 45 overs, Sri Lanka 117/4.
After 40 overs, SL 102/4: Spin from both ends now for the first time today. Ashwin has been expensive today, with both Chandimal and de Silva looking to remain positive against him – cutting him the moment there is any width, and sweeping when he goes straight. There is nothing in the pitch so far for him – no turn and bounce. And Jadeja’s not getting too much joy either but his control over line and length means he’s still keeping things tight. 100 up for India.
Meanwhile, a disappointingly one-sided end to a terrific Ashes Test as Australia bulldoze England and take a 2-0 lead...
After 35 overs, Sri Lanka 77/4: Fifty for Dhananjaya de Silva! This has been a very high quality innings – putting away the bad balls, and sometimes even the good balls with smart thinking. His shot to get 50 for example. Sees Ashwin give flight, dances down, and takes the aerial route to mid-on. After the drinks break, it’s Shami and Ashwin in tandem – this is something that we have to come to expect from Kohli these days. Start the day with pace-spin combination. Takes a while to go spin-spin, even on a 5th day pitch.
Drinks - After 30 overs, Sri Lanka 64/4: Dhananjaya’s batting with a refreshing approach. Knows that he can’t let Jadeja settle into a rhythm, so steps down to him repeatedly, even if to just defend. He has also scored a boundary is each of the last 4 fours – no Amla-du Plessis-de Villiers blockathon from him today. Time for drinks. And maybe Ashwin soon?
After 28 overs, Sri Lanka 54/4: Shami comes into the attack after five overs in the morning for Ishant. Jadeja carries on from the other end. 5 runs from his first 9 overs, and 10 from his last two – as he errs on the short side with his length.
After 24 overs, SL 43/4: A pretty big umpiring error! That Mathews wicket shouldn’t have stood – Jadeja overstepped as replays show, but the umpire did not get it checked. Poor mistake. Birthday boy gets lucky. Ishant, meanwhile, gets pulled handsomely for a couple of boundaries by Dhananjaya.
After 22 overs, Sri Lanka 35/4: Wicket! India have an early breakthrough. If there was any hope for Sri Lanka to pull off a draw today, it rested on Mathews’ shoulders – the shoulders that would be in the dressing room for the rest of the day today. Jadeja carries on with his metronomic ability to keep hitting the same length, and as a variation he goes a little sidearm, creates an angle, gets the ball to turn – and Mathews is playing for the one that keeps straight. Fine catch by Rahane at first slip.
Jadeja is on his way to a five-for on his birthday.
As Australia and England play out a Test to remember in Adelaide (and one that is heading decisively in Australia’s favour), here’s a story that will make your day:
After 18 overs, Sri Lanka 34/3: So it’s Ishant and Jadeja to start the day for India. The pacer hits the right length to Mathews early on, probing in that channel outside the off stump. Jadeja from the other end, in the most predictable of starts, bowls a 2-minute maiden.
09:30 am: Alright then, time for action on the final day... it is indeed sunny and clear, so perhaps today will be all about the cricket. Ishant Sharma with the ball in his hand to start things off...
09:20 am: The biggest talking point (cricket-wise) on day four was Ajinkya Rahane’s worrying form in comparison to Rohit Sharma’s rich return – does it change Kohli’s plans for the series in South Africa? Or is Rahane undroppable?
Here’s Kushal Phatarpekar with his take:
09:10 am: The sun is out seemingly in Delhi and perhaps the first time in this match, the pollution situation *might* not be the most-discussed today.
And oh, it’s Sir Jadeja’s birthday as well. Shikhar Dhawan celebrated his yesterday with a fifty, can Jadeja get a five-for today?
09:00 am: Hello and welcome to the last day of Test cricket action involving India and Sri Lanka this year (and maybe for a couple of years to come, in all likelihood.) It’s been a Test that’s dominated by non-cricketing issues, but there is a game to be won for Virat Kohli and Co and they need seven Sri Lankan wickets on the final day to do just that.