For the first time in the series, the Sri Lankan bowlers tested the Indian batsmen and at the end of the day’s play, the honours been shared. India began brilliantly after winning the toss, as openers KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan got them off to a sensational start. The duo shared a 188-run partnership before the spinners intrigued a mini collapse.
Kohli batted well for his 42 but couldn’t carry on and was dismissed by Lakshan Sandakan. Eventually, the visitors ended the day’s play on 329/6 and will definitely look to take the score over the 400-run mark tomorrow morning.
So with the opening day of the 3rd Test done and dusted, let us have a look at five Talking Points from the day’s play
Shikhar Dhawan smashes his 2nd century of the series
Southpaw Shikhar Dhawan has been cashing on his opportunities and after missing out on a double century narrowly in the opening Test, Dhawan went on to smash his 6th Test century and the 2nd of the series. He never looked in any sort discomfort what so ever and took on the Sri Lankan bowlers with disdain. For the 2nd time in the series, the swashbuckling left-hander was playing a limited overs game.
He looked in ominous touch and began with some exquisite drives of the fast bowlers. He cut, drove and pulled to perfection to accumulate boundaries after boundaries. He even put away the good balls to the fence and the Sri Lankan bowlers were left scratching their head. His innings finally came to an end on 119 of 127 deliveries when Malinda Pushpakumara brought about his downfall. His impressive innings was studded with 17 hits to the fence.
KL Rahul Misses out on another opportunity to smash a century
KL Rahul has looked in good touch ever since making his return but the Karnataka lad hasn’t been able to carry on and smash those big hundreds with which we associated during the beginning of his career. He has now failed to convert his last 7 half-centuries which will surely be worrying signs for him.
Even today he batted brilliantly until an uncharacteristic lapse in concentration brought about his downfall. He began with some delightful shots and found the gaps brilliantly. His innings of 85 of 135 deliveries contained 8 fours before he stepped down the track and gave away a simple catch to the mid on fielder.
Malinda Pushpakumara bags 3 crucial wickets
The record breaking spinner of the domestic circuit, Pushpakumara made his mark in Sri Lanka colours after bagging 3 prized wickets which included the wickets of KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, and Ajinkya Rahane. Rahul stepped down the track and gave away a simple catch to the mid on fielder, while Dhawan attempting a sweep was holed out by Dinesh Chandimal in the square leg region.
The best of the lot was Rahane who was completely beaten in flight. He stepped down the track but missed the ball completely which went onto crash on to the stumps. It was a great piece of bowling by the newcomer.
Lakshan Sandakan removes Kohli and Pujara
Another left-arm spinner Lakshan Sandakan also bagged a couple of crucial wickets of Virat Kohli CheteshwarOPujara-the two best Test batsmen of the team. He bowled in the right areas and despite the pitch not offering much to the spinners returned with two big wickets.
Pujara while attempting a cut found a thick edge which ricocheted of Dickwella’s pads and was safely pouched by Angelo Mathews in the slip cordon. Kohli was batting well when Sandakan induced a false shot from his bat and he edged a flighted delivery straight to the slip fielder.
The late flurry of wickets
After the openers stitched together a brilliant 188 runs partnership it was expected that India would go on to smash 600 plus for yet another time but Sri Lanka came back strongly in the final two sessions to finish the day strongly. It was Malinda Pushpakumara and Lakshan Sandakan who broke the backbone of India with crucial wickets and later on it was Vishwa Fernando who bagged the wicket of Ravichandran Ashwin to reduce India to 329/6 at the end of the day’s play.