IND vs SL: Virat Kohli's first red-ball international ton as Kolkata Test ends in thrilling draw
India, SL play out thrilling draw following Kohli's first red-ball international ton at Eden
Sri Lanka survived an intense scrutiny in fading light at the Eden Gardens to walk away from the rain-hit opening Test with a draw. The Indians, having set up the platform for the final push, were halted by bad light after reducing the visitors to 75 for 7. The seamers spitting fire, bowlers running back to the top of their run-up, five slips and a gully crouching for a catch, posturing and exchange of words over time-wasting, umpires intervening to break it up… the final moments of a Test that saw over nine hours lost to rain came alive.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar goes up in appeal against a SL batsman during the last day’s play of the opening Test at Eden Gardens yesterday
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav all got among wickets with Kumar completing 50 wickets and finishing with magical figures of 11-8-8-4. But the Lankans held on, heaving a sigh of relief when umpires Nigel Llong and Joel Wilson stopped play some five overs before the mandatory 15.
India pacer Mohd Shami celebrates the dismissal of Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal yesterday. He claimed six wickets in the Test, his first in India after the home series against England last year. Pics/PTI
Lakmal strikes again
If the Lankans escaped, they may well put it down to the good work in the morning, when they were able to delay India's declaration by turning hunters instead of being hunted. Three quick wickets in the morning by Suranga Lakmal saw the hosts shift focus from surge to survival. India, 171 for 1 overnight after a 166-run opening partnership, were taken deep into the post-lunch period before they could close their second innings at 352 for 8 as soon as Virat Kohli had completed his century. It set Sri Lanka a target of 231 in 47 overs, but recent records in matches between the two ensured that the buzz was all about whether the hosts could hunt down 10 wickets and force a win. Kohli's unbeaten 104, the landmark reached with his second six of Suranga Lakmal, was his 18th Test hundred and had him catch up with Sunil Gavaskar on the captain's count. Both have scored 11 centuries while they were skippers.
Lakmal, who had exploited the seaming conditions on the first couple of days, showed that he was lot more than just a demon on dangerous tracks. He had one coming back to slip through the defences of KL Rahul, the opener having added just six to his overnight 73. He now has 10 fifties and will be disappointed that he failed again to convert one to add to his four centuries.
Five-day man Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara, joining that small group of players who have batted on all five days of a Test, left to a lifting delivery that came in and went off the handle. Dilruwan Perera dived forward at gully to pull off a brilliant catch millimeters from the turf. Rahane fell in the same over, his DRS inquisition ending up in an 'umpire's call' on a leg-before verdict. Perera took further 'revenge' when he had Jadeja top-edging one in his second over of the day for a catch to first slip off the wicketkeeper's gloves.
Also view photos: Virat Kohli: From mama's boy to the nation's hero
Virat Kohli's gesture towards Steve Smith wins hearts during IND vs AUS