Ashwin takes five in commanding win

Sports Page — It had been more than a year since India last won a Test match, at Lord’s in 2014, but the final lap of their long wait zipped past quicker than anyone would have expected. Seven balls after lunch on the fifth day, Dushmantha Chameera padded up to an Amit Mishra googly. Mishra spun around in appeal; Rod Tucker’s finger went up immediately.

With that, the series was level. Sri Lanka had lost their last eight wickets for 62 runs. Worryingly, for a side that is losing perhaps its greatest-ever batsman to retirement, the collapse only continued a trend: they had lost their last seven wickets for 65 runs in the first innings.

If there were any furrows on Virat Kohli’s brow while he chased his first win as India’s Test captain, they weren’t caused by a Sri Lankan batsman. If they appeared at all, they did so only when rain fell with the last pair at the crease to bring the covers onto the field and hasten the lunch break by 10 minutes.

For the second time in the match, India’s attack refused to release the pressure on the batsmen. R Ashwin, who had taken the first two Sri Lankan wickets on the fourth evening, picked up his 12th five-for in Test cricket, but the other three specialist bowlers contributed significantly as well.

Summarized scores: India 393 (Rahul 108, Rohit 79, Kohli 78, Herath 4-81) and 325 for 8 dec. (Rahane 126, Vijay 82, Prasad 4-43, Kaushal 4-118) beat Sri Lanka 306 (Mathews 102, Thirimanne 62, Mishra 4-43) and 134 (Karunaratne 46, Ashwin 5-42, Mishra 3-29) by 278 runs

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