New Delhi : Despite losing almost two days of play due to inclement weather, Indian bowlers put up a spirited show, pushing Sri Lanka on the brink but bad light meant the play ended early for fifth day in a row and the first Test ended in a draw. When the bails were drawn, Indian seamers had reduced the visitors to 75/7 under fading light, in chase of 231.
The new ball pair of Bhuvneshwar Kumar (4/8) and Mohammed Shami (2/34) had punched two early holes in Lanka innings when they dismissed their openers in similar fashion, reducing them to 2/2 within four overs. After Virat Kohli’s superlative century allowed India to declare on 352/8, it was the perfect start they would have hoped for to enforce a result. Umesh Yadav then brought one in to trap Angelo Mathews lbw after tea but skipper Dinesh Chandimal (20) and Niroshan Dickwella (27) stonewalled the steaming bowlers, adding 47 runs for the fifth wicket.
Things heated up when Dickwella was accused of time wasting with Shami giving him an earful following which umpires had to intervene. And then, he produced a ripper to sneak through the defences of Chandimal and the Eden crowd found its voice again. Then an edge from Dickwella didn’t carry to the wicketkeeper as shown by the umpire review concluded.
Bhuvneshwar ended Dickwella’s resistance and went through the guards of Dilruwan Perera (0) in two successive overs. India were pressing hard for an unlikely win. Sri Lanka, at 75/7, hoping to survive. And they made it through when the umpire Nigel Llong took out the light-meter one last time and calling it a day. Sri Lankan dressing room heaved a sigh of relief.
That the match came so close to a nail-biting end was thanks in part to Kohli’s 18th Test century, 50th of his international career. The regular flow of wickets had forced Kohli to accelerate as he began pushing for quick runs and boundaries, reaching 104 off 119 with 12 fours and two sixes - the second of which took him to three figures. He had switched gears after reaching his maiden fifty at Eden Gardens, which came off 80 deliveries.