Galle :Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin spun a web around Sri Lankan batsmen with a six-wicket haul as India dismissed the hosts for a paltry 183 in the first innings to gain the upperhand on the opening day of the first cricket Test here today.
India’s premier spinner recorded his best overseas figures of 6 for 46 in 13.4 overs to trigger a collapse that saw the islanders being shot out in just 49.4 overs in their first innings after skipper Angelo Mathews opted to make first use on a track that had turn on offer on the first day itself.
At stumps, India looked in command as they reached 128 for two after opener KL Rahul (7) and Rohit Sharma (9) were dismissed cheaply.
Shikhar Dhawan seemed to continue from where he left off in Bangladesh as he stroked his way to an unbeaten 53 while skipper Virat Kohli looked supremely confident during his undefeated knock of 45.
India are only 55 runs short of Sri Lanka’s first innings total and will be looking to build a sizeable lead on a pitch that is offering substancial turn at times.
The first day panned out exactly in the manner that skipper Kohli might have wanted it to be.
Ishant Sharma (1/30 in 11 overs) bowled a good opening spell where he hit the deck hard to extract disconcerting bounce. One such delivery that took off from short of good length saw left-hander Dimuth Karunaratne (9) fend it awkwardly as Ajinkya Rahane took a simple of catch running forward from gully.
Kaushal Silva (5) was a touch unlucky after Shikhar Dhawan earlier dropped a dolly at first slip off Varun Aaron’s (1/68 in 11 overs) bowling. But this time was ball that was dug short which Silva wanted to pull but hit his arm guard as Dhawan ran back to dive and take a catch. The replays showed that umpire Nigel Llong got it wrong.
Once Ashwin was brought into the attack in the 12th over, he completely stamped his supremacy on the islanders.
Kumar Sangakkara (5) had a forgettable first innings in his penultimate Test match as he tried to push one off-break off the back-foot which saw young Rahul take a sharp catch at silly point.
With Sri Lanka reduced to 27 for three, it became increasingly difficult for them to claw their way back into the game.
Teams India: Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra, Varun Aaron, Ishant Sharma.
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kumar, Sangakkara (wk), Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews (capt), Dinesh Chandimal, Jehan Mubarak, Rangana Herath, Dhammika Prasad, Nuwan Pradeep, Tharindu Kaushal.