Juggernaut rolls on
Pallekele: An authoritative India on Monday completed a 3-0 clean sweep of Sri Lanka with an innings and 171-run annihilation in the third and final Test, bringing an early end to one of the most lopsided series in recent years.
None of the three matches lasted five days, with the final one being the shortest, lasting just two and a half days with the hosts folding up for 181 in 74.3 overs in their second innings shortly before tea on day three. The comprehensive series win also extended India's dominating run in Tests ever with 20 victories, one loss and five draws since the defeat in Galle in the previous series in Sri Lanka two years ago.
Top-ranked India put up a professional performance in the series with Hardik Pandya's performance in his debut series being the biggest positive, said captain Virat Kohli.
"The regulars have performed, but the biggest positive would be Hardik's inclusion and the way he shaped up in these three Test matches. The kind of confidence he showed the with the ball and the maturity with the bat, it really gives us a lot of boost and the balance," said Kohli post the commanding win. Kohli also promised that his side will continue to play ruthless cricket.
"We are a young side, we look forward to play Test cricket, we look forward to play every single Test match with the same kind of excitement and that is the only way you can be ruthless," said the skipper. "We like to be prepared before hand and be proactive rather than being reactive. We have age on our side and we have an opportunity to play together for five, six years for the country," he added.
With Sri Lanka resuming the day at 19 for one after following-on and facing a 352-run deficit, the final outcome was a foregone conclusion.
The pace duo of Umesh Yadav (2/21) and Mohammed Shami (3/32) provided the early breakthroughs for India before the spinners Kuldeep Yadav (1-56) and Ravichandran Ashwin (4/68) made further inroads.
Shami was most impressive as he bowled with pace and precision, carrying on from his showing in the first innings where he had struck twice.
With Sri Lanka struggling at 82 for four at lunch, it became certain that the game will not stretch to the fourth day, ensuring an extra day's rest for the Indian team ahead of the five-match ODI series starting Sunday.
Sri Lanka then collapsed to 135 all out in their first innings with Kuldeep Yadav picking 4-40. India won the first Test in Galle by 304 runs and the second Test in Colombo by an innings and 54 runs.