Hardik Pandya’s blistering display of batting, witnessed a combination of sensible showing and a blast of aggression in the late overs, enabled India to move closer to the 500 runs mark in the first session of day 2 at Pallekelle.
The session was extended by the umpires after sensing India might get bowled out as they already 9 wicket down. However, Hardik Pandya shrugged aside the assumption and came up with a highly entertaining attack in the extra 30 minute of play to add a twist to Sri Lanka’s fate in the first innings.
After losing the grip over the proceeding following a late slump, the visitors were left to somehow make sure that the team total went past the 400 run mark. Initially, after the fall of Wriddhiman Saha early in the session, it seemed that there was going to be no comeback from India. However, Hardik Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav stood for the cause just at the right time and pushed the scoreboard ahead in a calm yet authorative fashion.
Pandya, especially, was in a great flow and went on to complete his fifty at the stroke of Lunch. This satisfying knock from the Baroda star was the biggest highlight of the session; Sri Lanka snaring three more wickets to inch closer towards bundling India being the other significant highlight.
The day began on a positive note for Sri Lankans as India lost Saha just two overs into the fresh day. The wicket keeper, who registered a fifty in the previous Test, could not replicate the same success as he threw away his wicket to an unnecessary shot. This unexpected fall of the wicket was uncalled for as the pitch had slowed and the signs of batting getting a tad easier against the fast bowlers was already visible.
The early was compensated by Hardik Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav. The duo added 60 runs – in a very smooth fashion – to help India stroll past the 400 runs mark before Yadav, who has a first class century, departed for a well-made 26.
Pandya carried forward his innings building act further but Sri Lanka snapped another wicket in the form of Mohammad Shami to dent India chances of reaching the 450 runs mark.
Meanwhile, check out Hardik Pandy’a celebration of scoring his maiden hundred:
However, the final 20 minutes of play saw Pandya transform into his natural avatar and press the pedal in an aggressive fashion. He went berserk after reaching his fifty and in no time took India close to the 500 runs mark while also posting his maiden century.
His first fifty came off 61 balls while the next fifty took just 26 balls. The century in all sense, came in one session as he resumed batting at his overnight score of 1 run.
The batting showpiece was an overall demolition of the bowling attack. His annihilation of Malinda Pushpakumara, which saw 26 runs being scored in an over, a record highest for an Indian batsman and only the third best after George Bailey and Brian Lara’s Joint Test record which of 28 runs in an over.
His audacious know also made him the fastest century maker for India batting at no. 8 positions, equalizing Kapil Dev’s record which was set in 1982.