Sri Lankans pay for muddled approach
If the approach of Sri Lanka's top order, three of whom fell to expansive strokes in the second innings of the Kolkata Test was questionable, there was no redemption for them in Nagpur either
If the approach of Sri Lanka's top order, three of whom fell to expansive strokes in the second innings of the Kolkata Test was questionable, there was no redemption for them in Nagpur either. Sri Lanka plodded their way to 47 at a run-rate of less than two runs per over in the opening session, on a pitch that offered negligible assistance to pace and only a little more to spin.
Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Sri Lanka batsman Lahiru Thirimanne
While some of it could be attributed to tight bowling, the lack of intent on the part of opener Dimuth Karunaratne and No. 3 Lahiru Thirimanne was discernible. Sri Lanka were 20 for one in the fifth over.
Thereafter, Karunaratne and Thirimanne inexplicably pulled the shutter down on the scoring rate, adding just 25 in the next 20 overs, before the latter threw his wicket away in an attempt to finally break the shackles. By contrast, four days ago, when Sri Lanka were trying to save a Test, both batsmen had slashed at balls they could have easily left alone, with Karunaratne dragging it back on to his stumps and Thirimanne gifting a catch to Rahane in the slips.
Furthermore, the spin duo of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who bowled a total of 10 combined overs in the last Test, accounted for seven Sri Lankan batsmen, despite little help from the Day One surface in Nagpur. Curiously, with the ball neither seaming or turning viciously, the Sri Lankan innings featured six straight ball dismissals.
While defending the approach of the batsmen in the morning session, head coach Nic Pothas conceded his disappointment at losing as many wickets to the Indian spin twins. "First session of a Test match, you try to set a base and try to bat for a long time. You try and bat for a day and a bit if you win the toss, new ball spells are always tough and you try to blunt that," he said.
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