Angelo Mathews’s batting heroics proved to be in vain as India beat Sri Lanka by 117 runs in the final Test to win the three-match series 2-1 today.
After setting Sri Lanka a 386-run target India needed seven wickets on the final day to gift Virat Kohli his first series victory since becoming the Test captain.
The Sri Lanka captain, Mathews (110), and the debutant Kusal Perera (70), however, refused to throw in the towel at the in Colombo.
The duo resisted India’s victory push for more than 38 overs with gritty defiance but the wheels came off the Sri Lankan innings towards the end of the second session.
Perera succumbed to a rush of blood just before tea and Ishant Sharma, armed with the new ball, dismissed Mathews in the first over after the break to rattle the hosts who eventually folded for 268.
Resuming on 67 for three, Sri Lanka lost two wickets in the morning session before the 135-run stand between Mathews and Perera not only halted India’s victory bid but also rekindled faint home hopes of a miraculous win.
Mathews brought up his century in 217 balls, while Perera shone in his debut Test as well, complementing his first-innings half-century with an aggressive 70.
The wicketkeeper-batsman, however, threw away his wicket, reverse sweeping Ravichandran Ashwin (four for 69) to Rohit Sharma at point.
Ishant (three for 32) then ended all home hopes by trapping Mathews leg before for his 200th Test wicket as India went on to win their first Test series in Sri Lanka since 1993.
Cheteshwar Pujara, who struck an unbeaten 145 in the makeshift opener’s role for India, was adjudged man of the match in the low-scoring contest, while Ashwin’s 21 wickets earned him the man of the series award. (Courtesy The Guardian)