The three-day match between India and the Sri Lankan Board President’s XI ended in a draw after the hosts hung on to save the game on the final day. Set to chase an improbable 411 after the Indian second innings folded up 180 on the final day, the Lankan side batted out 54 overs and finished exactly on 200 as the teams shook hands and ended the formalities. Ravichandran Ashwin claimed three wickets for India in eight overs, but it wasn’t enough for India to secure an outright victory.
Resuming the day at 112 for 3, India came in with two new batsmen as both Lokesh Rahul and Cheteshwar Pujara, overnight 47 and 31 not out declared themselves retired out to let the others have a hit. The Indian innings did not last long though as the batsmen looked to get quick runs. Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh were promoted up the order, but were sent back for 0 and 4 respectively. Amit Mishra came in behind them, and he too managed only 7. With Mishra back, India slipped to 140 for 8.
It was not all waste for India though. Bhuvneshwar Kumar took the opportunity to get some good batting practice. He made a fluent 37 from 56 balls with five fours. Umesh Yadav chipped in with a quick 17 before India were all out for 180. For Sri Lanka, Vishwa Fernando was impressive with 2 for 17. Kasun Rajitha also played an important role claiming 2 for 38. Four others bowlers chipped in with a wicket each to make it a reasonable bowling outing for the hosts.
India had over 50 overs to bowl out the opponents. And, they got off to an impressive start as Dhananjaya de Silva was sent back by Yadav for 6. But, India couldn’t dislodge the other opener Kaushal Silva. He batted for 163 minutes, and was unbeaten on 83 with the help of six fours. Skipper Lahiru Thirimanne disappointed again, making only 18, but Upul Tharanga chipped in with a crucial fifty to steady the innings. Ashwin sent back Tharanga for 52, and picked up two more wickets in quick succession. However, Sachith Pathirana joined Silva, and the two took the team to safety without much trouble, ensuring the game ended in a draw.
-- By A Cricket Correspondent