Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin claimed an impressive six-wicket haul as India bundled out hosts Sri Lanka for 183 runs in the first innings at tea on Day One of the first Test match at the Galle International Cricket Stadium here on Wednesday.
Ashwin (6/46) alongside leg-spinner Amit Mishra (2/21) flummoxed the Sri Lankan batsmen to bowl them out in just 49.4 overs in the second session of the day’s play. With his six-wicket haul, Ashwin produced the best bowling by an Indian in Sri Lanka, surpassing Harbhajan Singh’s figure of 6/102 during the 2008 series.
Pacers Ishant Sharma (1/30) and Varun Aaron (1/68) were the other wicket-taking bowlers for India.
For Sri Lanka, skipper Angelo Mathews (64) was the highest scorer.
Opting to bat after winning the toss, Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews hoped to see his team get a good start on a sunny morning, but the Indian bowlers had other plans.
Sri Lanka were in trouble right from the start of their innings, losing their first wicket in the seventh over of the day.
Keeping in mind the dry and hard pitch, India skipper Virat Kohli decided to go in with five bowlers (three spinners and two pacers) which worked perfectly for the visitors. Apart from pacers Ishant and Aaron, Ashwin, Harbhajan and Amit Mishra were the three spin options.
Ishant and Aaron struck once each within the first eight overs to push the hosts on to the back foot. While Ishant struck the first blow for India by dismissing Dimuth Karunaratne (9), Aaron scalped the other opener Kaushal Silva (5) with a bouncer.
Ashwin then joined the party, claiming the vital wicket of veteran batsman Kumar Sangakkara (5), who is set to retire after the conclusion of the three-match Test series.
Soon after his fall, the experienced spinner struck twice in quick succession, removing Lahiru Thirimanne (13) and Jehan Mubarak (0) to send Lanka reeling at 60/5 in 21.3 overs.
Sri Lanka skipper Mathews (64) and Dinesh Chandimal (59) held on to put up a 79-run partnership to take the score close to 140. But Ashwin struck once again to get rid of Mathews.
Incoming batsman Dhammika Prasad too surrendered at the hands of Ashwin, to hand the spinner his second five-wicket haul it away Test matches. Sri Lanka were 155/7 in 43.3 overs at that stage.
Mishra, who has made a comeback into the Test side, claimed two wickets in successive deliveries to dismiss batsman Chandimal and Tharindu Kaushal (0), to push the home team on the brink, at 179/9 in 48.2 overs.
Ashwin then completed the formalities, claiming his sixth as he clean bowled Rangana Herath (23).