Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Ashwin steers India to 442-5 at lunch against Sri Lanka

Ravichandran Ashwin

COLOMBO: Ravichandran Ashwin closed in on his half-century as India reached 442 for five at lunch on day two of the second Test against Sri Lanka on Friday.

India, who resumed on 344-3, lost two of their overnight centurions in Cheteshwar Pujara (133) and Ajinkya Rahane (132) as Sri Lankan bowlers tried to check the visitors’ surge.

Ashwin (47) stood firm against the fightback at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground in Colombo, forming partnerships with Rahane and Wriddhiman Saha (16 not out).

Part-time bowler Dimuth Karunaratne claimed Pujara, who added just five runs to his overnight 128, to end a 217-run fourth-wicket stand.

The medium-pace bowler who is primarily an opening batsman, trapped Pujara lbw. He got the decision after a review of the on-field umpires call to bag his maiden Test wicket.

Debutant left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara got his first Test scalp. He got Rahane to leave his crease on a tossed up delivery and the batsman was stumped.

Rahane, who resumed the day on 103, added 63 runs for the fifth wicket with Ashwin.

India, who lead the three-match series 1-0, need a win to clinch the series. The hosts need at least a draw to keep their hopes alive.

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