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Herath claims seven, India lose first Test by 63 runs 

Galle, Aug 15 (IANS) Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath claimed seven wickets to bowl out India, chasing 176 in the second innings, for 112, to give Sri Lanka a 63-run win in the first Test match here on Saturday.

Herath (7-48) wrecked the Indian batting line-up on the fourth day of the match. For the Indian batting line-up that suffered a new low, middle-order batter Ajinkya Rahane (36) was the top scorer at the Galle International Cricket Stadium here on Saturday.

Herath was well supported in his efforts by fellow spinner Tharindu Kaushal 3-47, as the visitors succumbed under pressure chasing a small total of 176.

With the win, the hosts took a 1-0 lead in the three-match Test series. The second Test begins on August 20 in Colombo.

Resuming the fourth day’s play on a sunny morning, the Sri Lankans were in an attacking mode as Herath and Kaushal gave the hosts early breakthroughs.

Nightwatchman Ishant Sharma (10) didn’t last long as he was adjudged leg before wicket off the bowling of Herath in the seventh over of the day.

India suffered two successive massive blows thereafter in the space of three overs as Rohit Sharma (4) and skipper Virat Kohli (3) were also sent back to the pavilion by the Lankan spin duo. India was in trouble at 45/4.

Opener Shikhar Dhawan (28) tried to wage a lone battle for India but he too fell quickly, followed by Wriddhiman Saha (2) and Harbhajan Singh (1) to leave India tottering at 67/7 at lunch and staring at a humiliating defeat.

Coming into field after lunch, the Sri Lankan spinners pounced on the Indian tail-enders to take the last three wickets 34 runs.

Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin (3) and Amit Mishra (15) all fell in a heap to give the hosts 1-0 lead. Varun Aaron (1) remained unbeaten.

India had ended the third day’s play at 23/1 after Sri Lankan batsman Dinesh Chandimal’s unbeaten 162 helped the hosts avoid an innings defeat and take their second innings score to 367.

Sri Lanka were bundled out for 183 in th first innings on the first day while India scored 375 in their first innings to take a 192-run first innings lead.

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