India got much-needed match practice as they enjoyed an advantage on all three days against Sri Lanka Board President’s XI in the tour opener that ended in a tame draw in Colombo. (Highlights: SL Board XI v India)
Although the Indian batsmen managed just 180 in the second innings, the bowlers kept the pressure, restricting the hosts to 200 for six in 54 overs as they chased a huge score of 411 runs for an improbable win. (Ajinkya Rahane Wanted To Play A Long Innings)
Offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin (3/38 in 8 overs) warmed up nicely for the Test series while Harbhajan Singh (1/26) and Amit Mishra (1/42) also got crucial overs under their belt. (Sri Lanka Include Vishwa Fernando In Test Squad)
Earlier, India started off from their overnight score of 112/3 but both KL Rahul (47 no) and Cheteshwar Pujara (31 no) retired to give the lower order a chance. However, Ashwin (0) was bowled off the first ball he faced from Lahiru Gamage (1-20). Harbhajan too lasted only three more overs edging Nisala Tharaka to slip.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar stroked five fours and scored 37 runs off 56 balls, helping India cross the 150-mark.
Umesh Yadav used the new ball to good effect and was rewarded with the wicket of opener Dhananjay de Silva (6) as KL Rahul took a super catch at third slip as Board President’s XI went to lunch at 14/1.
After the break, Harabhajan Singh (1-26) dismissed Lahiru Thirimanne (18) as Ajinkya Rahane took a sharp catch at first slip.
Upul Tharanga (52) then came to the crease and stroked a fine half-century as he put on 73 runs with opener Kaushal Silva (83*), who also overcame his first innings’ disappointment and warmed up for the Test series with a fine batting performance.
The right-handed batsman reached his fifty off 101 balls and helped his side to tea at 120/2. Post the break, the hosts lost quick wickets. Ashwin sent back Tharanga who charged down the track and was caught at midwicket by Cheteshwar Pujara.
He then bowled Siriwardana (4) and Kusal Perera (1) in quick succession as both batsmen were looking to cut the ball. Mishra also made his presence felt with a wicket, dismissing Shehan Jayasuriya, who was caught at mid-off by Rohit Sharma, as he tried to clear the fence.
Ishant and Bhuvneshwar returned for a short spell thereafter, but the match was called off with the final 15 overs remaining in the day. The first Test begins in Galle on August 12.