India set for clean sweep after yet another SL collapse
Pallekele: Hardik Pandya smashed his maiden Test century before Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav routed the Sri Lankan middle order, setting India up for a series whitewash on the second day of the third and final match, here.
Pandya's aggressive batting powered India to 487 all out after starting the day at 329 for six. The memorable knock was also Pandya's first ever hundred in first class cricket.
Pandya's knock, which was embellished with seven powerful sixes, punctured whatever hopes Sri Lanka had to make it a contest after ending the opening day on a high.
Kuldeep, who replaced the suspended Ravindra Jadeja in the side, scalped four Lankan batsmen after Mohammed Shami sent back both the openers to help India bundle out the hosts for a paltry 135.
With a massive 352-run lead in hand, Virat Kohli had no hesitation in enforcing the follow-on and inflict more misery on a hapless Sri Lanka.
There was enough time for India to take another wicket with Upul Tharanga dragging one on to his stumps off paceman Umesh Yadav, leaving Sri Lanka at 19 for one at end of the day in which 15 wickets fell.
Dimuth Karunaratne (12) and Malinda Pushpakumara (0) were at the crease when the stumps were drawn.
Dinesh Chandimal (48) and Niroshan Dickwella (29) put on 63 runs for the fifth wicket in the final session of the day.
They attacked the Indian bowling with clear mindset. It helped Lanka cross 100 in the 21st over but their partnership was broken when Dickwella was stumped off Kuldeep (4/40).
It was the start of another collapse for the hosts as two overs later, Dilruwan Perera (0) holed out in the deep off Kuldeep again.
The big wicket came when Chandimal was caught at leg gully off R Ashwin (2/22) in the 32nd over, the ball lobbing up and KL Rahul completing the easy catch.
Five balls later, Kuldeep, playing only his second Test, bowled Malinda Pushpakumara (10) and then returned in the 37th over to dismiss Vishwa Fernando (0) in the same manner.
He missed his maiden Test five-wicket haul when Ashwin dismissed Lakshan Sandakan (10) an over later, caught at leg gully. Lanka lost their last six wickets for 34 runs.
Ashwin and Mohammed Shami shared the new ball for India in the second innings, and although the Lankan batsmen showed intent to fight, Umesh (1/3) managed to get the breakthrough. Earlier, Pandya was dismissed for 108 runs (96 balls, 8 fours and 7 sixes) after adding 66 runs for the last wicket with Umesh (3) before lunch. The former was caught at deep cover off Lakshan Sandakan (5/132) three deliveries after the break. It was the Lankan chinaman's maiden five-wicket haul in his sixth Test. Lanka though struggled from the very start in this short middle session. Shami (2/15) and Umesh moved the new ball very well and used the bounce available to good effect. Tharanga (5) was the first to go, caught behind off Shami in the third over, albeit he wasted a DRS review despite getting a thick edge. Shami also sent back Karunaratne (4) cheaply, caught behind again in the 5th over. Things took a dire turn for the hosts when Kusal Mendis (18) was run-out after a mix-up with skipper Chandimal.
India: 487 (Hardik Pandya 108; Lakshan Sandakan 5/132).
Sri Lanka 1st innings: 135 (Dinesh Chandimal 48; Kuldeep Yadav 4/40).
SL 2nd innings: 19/1
SL trail by 333 runs.