The first day of the 3rd India vs Sri Lanka Test commenced with Team India dominating in the first session. However, the Lankans bounced back in the second and third while Virat Kohli & Co. struggled in the latter half of today’s game. Lankan bowlers—Malinda Pushpakumara, Lakshan Sandakan, Vishwa Fernando—collectively took all the 6 wickets while the Team India could manage to put 329 runs by the end of Day 1.
Earlier, the Indian skipper Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat first. Openers Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul rode on to post 134/0 at lunch with scoring their perspective half-centuries. At the lunch break, Dhawan was unbeaten on 64 while Rahul (67 not out) made his seventh successive 50-plus score in Test matches, becoming the joint record-holder alongside Everton Weekes, Andy Flower, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Kumar Sangakkara and Chris Rogers.
Lankan bowling attack with Chinaman Lakshan Sandakan and seamers Lahiru Kumara and Vishwa Fernando in the team, which looked pedestrian throughout the opening session. The hosts did not use Malinda Pushpakumara’s left-arm orthodox before lunch, however, he bamboozled the Indian batters in the second session.
By the end of the second session, India had lost it’s top 3 batsmen – KL Rahul (85), Shikhar Dhawan (119) and Cheteshwar Pujara (8). Rahul was in excellent form and seemed to be well on his way to what would have been a well deserved century when he was let down by a poor piece of shot selection. However, he misjudged the one of Pushpakumara’s flight and could only manage to find Dimuth Karunaratne at mid-on and lost his wicket.
Dhawan, who lost his wicket to Pushpakumara on 119, scored his second century of the series and his third overall against Sri Lanka. This was the sixth century of his Test career. Pujara followed him back to the pavilion just three overs later after being caught by Angelo Mathews in the slips off Sandakan’s bowling.
The third session resumed with the score 235/3 with Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane coming at the crease to continue the inning. In the 65th over, Pushpakumara made Rahane his 3rd victim and hunted him down while he was playing on 17. he failed to read the arm-ball properly and got bowled.
A few minutes later, 79th over, Team India lost its skipper while he was trying to play an off drive to Sandakan. The ball took the top edge of his bat and landed safely in the safe hands of Dimuth Karunaratna who was fielding at the slips.
Wriddhiman Saha was the next man in who joined Ashwin at the crease. Both of them added 26 runs for the sixth before Ashwin lost his wicket to Vishwa Fernando a few minutes before the stumps. Lankan wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwela took a superb dive catch to dismiss Ashwin who was playing on 31. The back of length delivery from Fernando left Ashwin with the angle and took his bat’s edge. He had no other option than to play the ball and which was heroicly caught by Dickwella. Post Ashwin’s dismissal, Hardik Pandya joined Saha at the crease.
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