NEW DELHI, Dec 6, (AFP): India won a record ninth Test series in succession Wednesday after drawing the pollution-tainted third and final Test with Sri Lanka in New Delhi.
Top-ranked India won the series 1-0 to equal Australia’s record of nine successive Test series victories, between 2005-2008.
The first Test between India and Sri Lanka in Kolkata had ended in a draw and the hosts won the second game by an innings and 239 runs.
But Sri Lanka salvaged some pride in the final match thanks to Dhananjaya de Silva and Roshen Silva, who defied the odds and held out for a draw.
The Test at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground was marred by severe pollution, with fast bowlers from both sides vomiting Tuesday amid thick smog.
In an unprecedented move, Sri Lankan players wore facemasks while fielding to combat the toxic air, which interrupted play on day two as the visitors protested the choking conditions.
The US embassy website on Wednesday showed concentrations of the smallest and most harmful airborne pollutants hit 234, better than a day earlier but still nearly nine times the World Health Organization’s safe limit.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India has said Delhi could be dropped as a venue during winter when pollution spikes.
Dhananjaya, who retired hurt on 119 due to muscle stiffness, and Roshen (74 not out) held Sri Lanka steady over three sessions of play on the final day, after the visitors were set a huge 410 victory target late on day four.
Roshen was batting alongside Niroshan Dickwella on 44 when the two teams decided to shake hands with just seven mandatory overs left for the day.
Spinner Ravindra Jadeja rattled the Sri Lankan top order with three strikes, including Angelo Mathews’ key wicket in the morning session.
But De Silva thwarted a persistent Indian attack with his third Test hundred.
He built crucial partnerships with Chandimal (36) and then with Silva, who had begun his Test career with a duck in the first innings.
Silva also combined with Dickwella in an unbeaten 94-run stand.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli praised the Sri Lankan batsman for digging their heels in on a wearing pitch.
Kohli was named man of the series for his prolific performances including two double centuries.
India vs Sri Lanka Scoreboard
NEW DELHI, Dec 6, (AFP): Completed scoreboard of the third and final Test between India and Sri Lanka in New Delhi on Wednesday:
INDIA 1st innings 536-7 dec (V. Kohli 243, M. Vijay 155; L. Sandakan 4-167)
SRI LANKA 1st innings 373 (D. Chandimal 164, A. Mathews 111; I. Sharma 3-98, R. Ashwin 3-90)
INDIA 2nd innings 246-5 dec (S. Dhawan 67, R. Sharma 50 not out; S. Lakmal 1-60)
SRI LANKA 2nd innings (target 410; overnight 31-3)
- Karunaratne c Saha b Jadeja 13
- Samarawickrama c Rahane b Shami 5
- de Silva retired hurt……….. 119
- Lakmal b Jadeja……………….. 0
- Mathews c Rahane b Jadeja. 1
- Chandimal b Ashwin………… 36
- Silva not out…………………… 74
- Dickwella not out…………….. 44
Extras (b5, lb1, nb1)……………… 7
Total (5 wickets; 103 overs)… 299
Fall of wickets: 1-14 (Samarawickrama), 2-31 (Karunaratne), 3-31 (Lakmal), 4-35 (Mathews), 5-147 (Chandimal), 5-205 (De Silva – ret. hurt)
Did not bat: D. Perera, L. Gamage, L. Sandakan
Bowling: I. Sharma 13-2-32-0, Shami 15-6-50-1, Ashwin 35-3-126-1, Jadeja 38-13-81-3 (nb1), Vijay 1-0-3-0, Kohli 1-0-1-0
Series: India win the three-match series 1-0
Umpires: Joel Wilson (WIS), Nigel Llong (ENG)
TV umpire: Anil Chaudhary (IND)
Match referee: David Boon (AUS)