India wins Test and series thanks to Shreyas, Bumrah and Pant

By Kersi Meher-Homji

It has been a season of wins, only wins and nothing but wins for Indian cricketers. They have won 15 of the 16 matches played this season (93.7 percent victory rate) with one draw.

Last night they beat Sri Lanka by 238 runs in just three days of the pink ball day-night Test in Bengaluru. Last week they had also won the first Test at Mohali in three days, by an innings and 222 runs. They have won the 2-Test series 2-0.

With the consistent batsman Shreyas Iyer top scoring with 92 spectacular runs (10 fours and four sixes) and Rishabh Pant an equally aggressive 39, India totaled 252 on a difficult batting pitch.

Sri Lanka was dismissed for a paltry 109, fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah capturing 5 for 24.

Shreyas (67 runs) and Pant (50) again top scored and India declared at 9 for 303, setting the visitors a near impossible victory target of 447 runs. The best bowler for SL was Praveen Jayawickrama who took 4 for 78.

Left-hand opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne hit a courageous century (107 runs with 15 stylish fours) and added 97 gritty runs with Kusal Mendis (54) for the second wicket. But the rest folded up against the pace of “Boom Boom” Bumrah and the off spin of Ravichandran Ashwin.

All out for 208, Sri Lanka lost by 238 runs and the series 2-0.

Player of the Match was Shreyas and Player of the Series was Pant.

At the presentation, Pant said, “As a cricketer you want to evolve. In the past, I have made a few mistakes but I want to keep improving. My mindset is not the same, but it was a difficult pitch and I decided I had to attack the bowling early on. [On his wicket-keeping] I think it’s more about confidence. I used to think too much about what I might miss. Now I am focusing on my process.”

Player of the match Shreyas added, “[On his first innings knock] that wasn’t my normal approach but when I saw other batters struggling, I knew I had to attack. I was just trying to be one step ahead of the bowlers. When the tail came in, I was on 55 and I added 37 more runs, so I wasn’t too bothered about missing out on a hundred. In second innings we were given a target and I was in the mindset to play as many balls as possible. I have always dreamt about being a Test player for India and playing alongside the greats, and contributing at the highest level. I hope I can maintain that consistency in the time to come.”

With veteran batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane out of form, Shreyas Iyer is India’s hope for the future.

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