Cricket-Jadeja’s all-round show powers India to crushing win over Sri Lanka

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FILE PHOTO: Cricket – Second Test – England v India – Lord’s Cricket Ground, London, Britain – August 14, 2021 India’s Ravindra Jadeja looks on Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

(Reuters) -Ravindra Jadeja’s brilliance with bat and ball powered India to a victory by an innings and 222 runs over Sri Lanka inside three days of the opening test at Mohali on Sunday.

After a swashbuckling unbeaten 175 in India’s massive total of 574-8 declared, Jadeja tied Sri Lanka’s batters in a knot with his left-arm spin to pick up a match haul of nine wickets.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin provided able support by taking six to boost his tally to 436 wickets in tests, climbing past former India all-rounder Kapil Dev to second spot in the list of the country’s most successful bowlers in the format.

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The duo also shared a stand of 130 in a very useful contribution with the bat.

“This is my lucky ground. Whenever I come here, I always get positive vibes,” Jadeja said after picking up his third player of the match award at the ground in the northern Indian city.

India came into the opening test against Sri Lanka in a state of transition.

Rohit Sharma was named test captain after Virat Kohli stepped down after the 2-1 defeat in India’s previous test series in South Africa.

The Mohali match was the first in a decade that India played a test with neither Cheteshwar Pujara nor Ajinkya Rahane in their batting line-up.

“A near-perfect game for us as a team,” Rohit told reporters. “We bowled well, we batted well. We took our chances as well on the field, except maybe one or two here and there.

“That is where we need to just sharpen up a little bit more and make sure that we are 110% on the field.”

India will take a 1-0 lead to the second and final match in Bengaluru, to be played under lights from Saturday, brimming with confidence that they can extend their winning streak at home to 15 series.

Having secured a first-innings lead of 400 by bundling out their opponents for 174, India enforced the follow-on and bowled out Sri Lanka for 178.

A number of Sri Lankan batters made starts in their second innings but could not make it count, surrendering meekly against India’s bowling attack.

“The batters need to put their hands up and play longer innings,” Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne said.

“It’s not easy to bat on these tracks but once you get set you have to get a big score.”

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