Hardik Pandya hit seven sixes in his swashbuckling innings which is the second most in an innings for India. © AFP

Hardik Pandya hit seven sixes in his swashbuckling innings which is the second most in an innings for India. © AFP

Riding on hundreds from Shikhar Dhawan and Hardik Pandya coupled with an impressive overall bowling performance, India defeated Sri Lanka by an innings and 171 runs to seal a 3-0 whitewash at Pallekele on Monday (August 14). This was India’s fourth largest victory in Test cricket, when winning by an innings.

India’s largest victories in Test cricket

Margin Opposition Ground Match Date
Inns & 239 runs Bangladesh Dhaka May 25, 2007
Inns & 219 runs Australia Kolkata Mar 18, 1998
Inns & 198 runs New Zealand Nagpur Nov 20, 2010
Inns & 171 runs Sri Lanka Pallekele Aug 12, 2017
Inns & 144 runs Sri Lanka Kanpur Nov 24, 2009

The main protagonist of the victory was Pandya who – while batting at No. 8 – scored his maiden hundred in first-class cricket. Of the 108 runs he made, 107 came in an extended morning session on Day 2 as he became the first Indian to score a hundred runs in the first session of a day in Test cricket.

Pandya took only 86 balls to reach his hundred – the joint fifth-fastest for an Indian batsman in Test cricket.

Fastest Test hundreds for India

Batsman Balls Total Runs Opposition Ground Match Date
Kapil Dev 74 163 Sri Lanka Kanpur Dec 17, 1986
Mohammad Azharuddin 74 109 South Africa Kolkata Nov27, 1996
Virender Sehwag 78 180 West Indies Gros Islet Jun 10, 2006
Shikhar Dhawan 85 187 Australia Mohali Mar 14, 2013
Kapil Dev 86 116 England Kanpur Jan 30, 1982
Hardik Pandya 86 108* Sri Lanka Pallekele Aug 12, 2017

During the course of his innings, Pandya hit two fours and three sixes in a single over from Malinda Pushpakumara. There have been only three instances in the history of Test cricket when more than 26 runs were scored off a single over.

Most runs in an over in Test cricket

Batsman Runs Bowler Opposition Venue Match Date
Brian Lara (WI) 28 Robin Peterson South Africa Johannesburg Dec 12, 2003
George Bailey (Aus) 28 James Anderson England Perth Dec 13, 2013
Shahid Afridi (Pak) 27 Harbhajan Singh India Lahore Jan 13, 2006
Craig McMillan (NZ) 26 Younis Khan Pakistan Hamilton Mar 27, 2001
Brian Lara (WI) 26 Danish Kaneria Pakistan Multan Nov19, 2006
Mitchell Johnson (Aus) 26 Paul Harris South Africa Johannesburg Feb 26, 2009
Brendon McCullum (NZ) 26 Suranga Lakmal Sri Lanka Christchurch Dec 26, 2014
Hardik Pandya (Ind) 26 Malinda Pushpakumara Sri Lanka Pallekele Aug 12, 2017

In all, Pandya hit seven sixes in his swashbuckling innings which is the second most in an innings for India. The record belongs to Navjot Sidhu who cleared the rope eight times during his innings of 124, once again versus Sri Lanka, in 1994.

Most sixes by an Indian in a Test innings

Player 6s Runs Opposition Venue Match Date
Navjot Sidhu 8 124 Sri Lanka Lucknow Jan 18, 1994
Virender Sehwag 7 293 Sri Lanka Mumbai (BS) Dec 2, 2009
Harbhajan Singh 7 111* New Zealand Hyderabad (Deccan) Nov 12, 2010
Hardik Pandya 7 108 Sri Lanka Pallekele Aug 12, 2017
With a knock of 85, KL Rahul equalled the record for fifties in consecutive innings in Test cricket. © Getty Images

With a knock of 85, KL Rahul equalled the record for fifties in consecutive innings in Test cricket. © Getty Images

Before Pandya, KL Rahul, batting at the top of the order, scored a brilliant 85. Though he once again failed to convert his fifty into a three-figure score, he now has seven consecutive fifty-plus scores in Test cricket – a joint record.

Fifty-plus scores in most consecutive Test innings

Player Innings Run of scores Span
Everton Weekes (WI) 7 141, 128, 194, 162, 101, 90, 56 Mar 27, 1948 to Feb 4, 1949
Andy Flower (Zim) 7 65, 183*, 70, 55, 232*, 79, 73 Sep 19, 2000 to Apr 19, 2001
Shivnarine Chanderpaul (WI) 7 69, 74, 50, 116*, 136*, 70, 104 Nov 27, 2006 to Dec 26, 2007
Kumar Sangakkara (SL) 7 75, 319, 105, 147, 61, 79, 55 Jan 27, 2014 to Jun 20, 2014
Chris Rogers (Aus) 7 55, 55, 57, 69, 95, 56, 95 Dec 17, 2014 to Jul 8, 2015
KL Rahul (Ind) 7* 90, 51, 67, 60, 51*, 57, 85 Mar 4, 2017 to Aug 12, 2017

India’s batting prospered during this series, and it wasn’t just the top order that scored heavily. The tail wagged too, and India’s last four batsmen averaged 46.00 from 12 innings, which is the fourth highest for any team in a Test series.

Batting average in a series for Numbers 8-11

Team Tests Inn Runs Ave 100s/50s Series
Pakistan 3 10 401 66.83 1/0 v New Zealand, 1955
England 4 14 420 52.50 0/4 v India, 2011
Australia 5 21 650 50.00 2/3 v West Indies, 1955
India 3 12 368 46.00 1/2 v Sri Lanka, 2017
New Zealand 2 12 367 45.87 0/4 v India, 1998-99

Note: Minimum 10 innings

The mismatch between the two sides was so stark that India’s last four batsmen’s average was one and a half times greater than the average of Sri Lanka’s top seven (30.65). And India’s lowest total in a completed innings in the series (487) was 101 runs more than Sri Lanka’s highest (386).

With such a dismal performance, Sri Lanka could not prevent the whitewash – their second in a home series of three or more Tests, the first being a 0-3 loss against Australia in 2004.

For India, it was the first time – and the fifth overall – that they completed a whitewash away from home.

India whitewashing opposition in Test cricket

Opposition Tests Host Year
England 3 India 1993
Sri Lanka 3 India 1994
Australia 4 India 2013
New Zealand 3 India 2016
Sri Lanka 3 Sri Lanka 2017

Note: Minimum three Tests in the series