Ashwin claims three, India blow away Lanka top half in Galle

GALLE: Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin picked up three quick wickets as India blew away Sri Lanka's top half and reduced them to 65 for five at lunch on the opening day of the first test at Galle on Wednesday.

Captain Angelo Mathews was batting on 26 at the break after his decision to bat first backfired, with wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal (five) at the crease.

Pacers gave India early breakthroughs with Ishant Sharma removing Dimuth Karunarante (nine) with a short delivery while Varun Aaron dismissed the other opener Kaushal Silva (five) two balls later with another bouncer.

Retiring batting stalwart Kumar Sangakkara, playing his penultimate test, did not last long either and fell on five to Ashwin's third delivery of the morning.

The tall off-spinner extracted enough turn and bounce from the surface to fox Sangakkara and Lokesh Rahul pouched a sharp catch at silly point.

Ashwin also claimed the wicketsn of Lahiru Thirimanne (13) and Jehan Mubarak (zero) in successive overs to peg back the hosts.

India captain Virat Kohli, leading the side for the first time in a full series, went in with five bowlers, giving Amit Mishra, one of the three spinners in the side, his first test in four years.

The hosts, who lost their last test series against Pakistan 2-1, also included an extra spinner in Rangana Herath.