Was it all that long ago that this Sri Lankan team whitewashed a powerful Australia 3-0? It seems like that but in reality it was just last year, during July-August, that they won the three Tests by impressive margins — 106, 229 and 163 runs. In fact, the wins were so emphatic that it seemed a series between unequals.
Cut to the present. This same Sri Lankan team seems to be in its death throes in the series against India.
For a second straight day in Colombo, the Indian batsmen sent Sri Lanka on a leather hunt. If Pujara and Rahane’s splendid effort on the opening day piled agony on hosts, the contribution from India’s lower-middle order knocked the stuffing out of them. Half-centuries from Wriddhiman Saha (67) and R Ashwin (54), and a typical Ravindra Jadeja-esque innings of 70 gave India a mammoth 622/9.
Well, if that wasn’t enough, then there were the Sri Lankan batsmen. With tired bodies and more importantly tired minds, two of them walked back to the dressing room in the 20 overs. In order for Sri Lanka to come anywhere close to India’s second highest total on their soil, it was absolutely last thing they needed. Instead, Ashwin feasted on the already low on confidence batsmen with his spin, restricting them to 50/2 at stumps, trailing India by 572.