Colombo, Sept 1: The team India broke a 22-year-old jinx on Sri Lankan soil with an emphatic 117-run win over the hosts in the third and final cricket Test here on Tuesday.
India recorded their first ever overseas series triumph, from a 0-1 deficit, since June, 2011 against the West Indies.
After setting a daunting victory target of 386, the visitors managed to dismiss Sri Lankan for 268 despite captain Angelo Mathews valiant century to wrap up the series 2-1.
The last time an Indian team won a series in Sri Lanka was way back in 1993 under Mohammed Azharuddin’s leadership when they sealed the series with 1-0 scoreline.
Since 1993, India has toured Sri Lanka five times but had not managed to win a series. While they had travelled to Sri Lanka in 1997, 2001, 2008 and 2010 for a bilateral series, in 1998-99 they competed there in the Asian Test Championships.
Till now, India have won only three Test series after losing the first Test and this is the first time that the achievement has come on foreign soil. India won a series in 1972-73 against England and against Australia in 2000-2001 at home.
It was new captain Virat Kohli’s first series win ever since he took over the reins of the team from Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
On an absorbing final day’s play, the visitors took two quick wickets in the morning session before Mathews (110) and debutant Kusal Perera (70) scripted a spirited fightback to frustrate the Indians.
The duo put on a resolute 135-run partnership for the sixth wicket, the second-highest stand in the fourth innings in Sri Lanka’s Test history. Roy Dias and Duleep Mendis hold the record of biggest fourth innings partnership with a 214- run stand.
Off-spinner R Ashwin was the pick of the Indian bowlers with four for 69 while paceman Ishant Sharma scalped three for 32. Umesh Yadav chipped in with two for 65.
The fifth day’s action was not devoid of drama as more on-field altercation took place with Kusal Perera being involved in a heated exchange with Indian players.
Ashwin took the last wicket of Nuwan Pradep to bring about India’s moment of glory, triggering scenes of wild celebrations in the dressing room as the players hugged each other and picked up the stumps as mementos.
Ashwin provided the vital breakthrough by breaking the sixth-wicket partnership with Perera’s scalp. The second new ball, taken after tea break, turned the tide completely in India’s favour with Ishant getting rid of Mathews in the very first over.
(With PTI Inputs)