First test drawn as bad light stops India, saves Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's captain Dinesh Chandimal is bowled out by India's Mohammed Shami during the fifth day of the first test in Kolkata, India, Monday, Nov. 20. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Sri Lanka’s captain Dinesh Chandimal is bowled out by India’s Mohammed Shami during the fifth day of the first test in Kolkata, India, Monday, Nov. 20. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)

Kolkata, India (AP) — India’s last-day charge for victory against Sri Lanka in the first test was thwarted by bad light on Monday at Eden Gardens.

India made certain of not losing by declaring their second innings nearly 50 overs into the day, just before tea. Declaring at 352-8, India gave Sri Lanka a victory target of 231.

The visitors were expected to comfortably bat out the last session and a bit. But fast bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar (4-8) and Mohammed Shami (2-34) ripped apart the top order.

In the seven overs before tea, Sri Lanka lost two wickets. There were 19.3 more overs after tea, during which Sri Lanka collapsed and lost five more wickets, and were down to bowlers at the batting crease; Dasun Shanaka in his third test, and Rangana Herath.

They were saved by bad light, with more than 20 overs remaining.

Sri Lanka, 22-4 at one stage, finished on 75-7.

Only three Sri Lanka batsmen made it into double figures, with Niroshan Dickwella top-scoring on 27.

That India were playing for the win at the end was a huge turnaround after being bowled out for 172 in their first innings and seeing Sri Lanka take a 122-run first-innings lead.

Earlier on Monday, captain Virat Kohli posted his 18th test century to lead India’s fight back.

His unbeaten 104 from 119 ball included 12 boundaries and a pair of sixes.

India resumed on day five at 171-1 aiming to score quickly to set up a result, but Suranga Lakmal (3-93) slowed the progress with three wickets in his morning spell.

Lokesh Rahul (79) added only six runs to his overnight score before he was bowled by Lakmal in the fifth over.

At the other end, Cheteshwar Pujara (22) became the third India player after ML Jaisimha and Ravi Shastri to bat on all five days of a test.

But he added only 11 runs with Kohli for the third wicket before Lakmal struck twice quickly.

Lakmal had Pujara caught at gully as he failed to fend off a short ball, and four balls later trapped Ajinkya Rahane lbw for a duck, a close decision that stayed in the bowler’s favor despite a DRS review.

Kohli added 20 runs with Ravichandran Ashwin (7), and 12 with Wriddhiman Saha (5). He reached his half-century off 80 balls.

Kumar contributed 8 in a 40-run stand with Kohli before he was dismissed.

Then, with ball in hand, Kumar almost won it for India.