Chaminda Vaas skittled India for their lowest total against Sri Lanka before the rain-ravaged first Test was consigned to a draw yesterday.
The left-arm seamer grabbed 4-20 in 21 overs and off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan claimed two wickets as India were shot out for 167 on the fifth and final day at the Chepauk.
Sri Lanka rode on Mahela Jayawardena's 71 to score 168-4 in reply before the match was called off after 14 wickets fell in the four sessions of play possible in the game due to inclement weather.
The meaningless proceedings in the Test where the first three days and two sessions of the fourth day were wiped out by rain were lit up by a fiery exhibition of seam bowling by Vaas.
The new Sri Lankan vice-captain began the day with seven maidens on the trot and struck vital blows as India fell below their previous low of 180 against Sri Lanka in Galle in 2001. Vaas, who had removed openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir on Monday, had Indian captain Rahul Dravid caught behind for 32 and claimed a return catch to dismiss tailender Anil Kumble.
Muralitharan flattened Sachin Tendulkar's bid for a world-record 35th century, trapping the Indian star leg-before for a dour 22 that came off 126 deliveries.
Tendulkar, level with fellow-Indian Sunil Gavaskar's world mark of 34 centuries, managed to add just 11 runs in 70 minutes yesterday against the spot-on Sri Lankan attack.
India lost six wickets for 38 runs in the morning session on an under-prepared wicket of low bounce with Vaas claiming 3-15 and Muralitharan 2-60.
Sourav Ganguly, returning to international cricket after being sacked as captain and dropped from the one-day side, lasted barely 30 minutes after being greeted to the middle by some 2,500 home fans.
Ganguly ran out Venkatsai Laxman after refusing his call for a single and was then himself dismissed for five, caught at point by Tillekeratne Dilshan off Dilhara Fernando.
Irfan Pathan gave Muralitharan a tame return catch and Ajit Agarkar ran himself out as India slid to 128-8.
Wicket-keeper Mahendra Dhoni made 30 on his Test debut before he was last man out, holing out in the deep to give leg-spinner Malinga Bandara his first Test wicket. When Sri Lanka batted, seamer Irfan Pathan had Avishka Gunawardena caught behind by Dhoni off the sixth ball of the innings.
Kumar Sangakkara helped Jayawardena add 57 for the second wicket when he became the first of Kumble's three victims, caught plumb in front of the stumps.
Thilan Samaraweera and Jayawardena put on a third-wicket stand of 62 when Kumble struck again. The leg-spinner had Jayawardena caught at short-leg for 71 and then clean bowled Marvan Atapattu for seven as the Sri Lankan captain attempted a pull shot.
Kumble, India's most successful Test bowler, took his tally to 468 wickets from 98 matches.
Sri Lanka were awarded five penalty runs when an edge off Jayawardena's bat went through Dhoni's legs and struck the helmet lying on the field behind the wicket-keeper.
The second Test will be played in New Delhi from Dec, 10-14 and the third in Ahmedabad from Dec. 18-22. Clear weather is forecast in both cities this month.