SL Vs IND, Galle Test – Day 1: Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara Punish Hapless Sri Lanka
India started off the tour’s proceedings solidly on day one against hapless Sri Lanka which saw Indian batsmen Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara plundering runs at will, before both notched up their respective hundreds against hosts at the Galle International Stadium.
Cheteshwar Pujara was not out on 144 off 247 deliveries with Ajinkya Rahane batting on 39 off 94 balls, after the stumps were drawn on day One of the Test, as India posted massive 399 for three on the board.
Prolific with the bat, Dhawan accelerated the scoreboard in the first two-sessions of the day and registered his fifth Test century and it was second against the hosts at Galle.
Falling ten runs short of his first-ever Test double hundred, Dhawan was on a role with the bat while scoring at the strike-rate of 113.10.
Dhawan and Pujara went on to post 253 runs for the second wicket for India.
In 57th over, skipper Virat Kohli was undone by a short and rising delivery from Nuwam Pradeep that found the edge of a bat when Kohli shuffled across to opt for a full while almost shutting his eyes before wicket-keeper Niroshan Dickwella completed a catch.
As on-field umpire turned Bruce Oxenford down the appeal, Rangana Herath went upstairs which further revealed a deviation of the ball and a spike on the Ultra Edge, as third umpire Rod Tucker revealed Kohli was out, before suggesting Oxenford change his decision in favour of Sri Lanka.
At tea, India was 282 for two while losing Dhawan at the stroke of a tea break on 190 off 168 deliveries, which also became his personal best in Test cricket after crossing past the previous best of 187.
Magnificent Dhawan, who was not in the 16 member squad earlier, smashed 31 boundaries in his innings, in a bid to cement his spot in the Test cricket after being in and out of the set-up.
Following the rush of a blood, Dhawan came down the track on the bowling of Nuwan Pradeep, as the cherry found the toe-end of the bat to find the mid-off fielder Angelo Mathews completing a simple catch.
Interestingly, India posted 167 on the board at the run-rate of 5.96 in 28 overs, between lunch and the tea interval; before they went on to register their highest score on the first day in Sri Lanka.
Earlier at lunch break, India were 115 for one in 27 overs as right-arm fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep filled the wicket column. Moreover, the first session saw fifteen overs of the spin bowling as well.
In the morning session, Dhawan was dropped cheaply at the second slip by Asela Gunaratne after failing to complete a regulation catch which further saw him injuring his hand and has been further ruled out of the ongoing Test to pile-up the miseries for Ranganga Herath-led Lankans.
It was on the bowling of the 20-year-old Lahiru Kumara when Dhawan went for a full-blooded cut shot which further found the thick edge of his bat.
The 31-year-old batting all-rounder Gunaratne trudged off the ground while writhing in pain, as the scans in a hospital further revealed he has fractured his left thumb after attempting to complete a catch.
After winning the toss Virat Kohli opted to bat first on a wicket which seemed to be a good for the batsman following the start of the Test match.
While coming to the bat, with Shikhar Dhawan and Abhinav Mukund starting off the innings for the visitors, the Kohli-led side lost its first wicket in the eighth over when left-handed Tamil Nadu-based batsman nicked the ball straight into the hands of wicket-keeper Niroshan Dickwella.
The 27-year-old batsman scored 12 off 26 deliveries when India posted 27 on the scoreboard in 7.3 overs.
All-rounder Hardik Pandya was handed over a debut in Tests by Kohli, as Rohit Sharma is warming the bench. For Sri Lanka, Danushka Gunathilaka is also making a debut for the hosts.
Tahir Ibn Manzoor
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