Shikhar Dhawan’s 190 and Cheteshwar Pujara’s unbeaten ton puts India in a commanding position on Day One, First Test at Galle. India end the day on 399 for 3. Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane are the two unbeaten batsmen for India. This is India’s highest Day One score in an overseas Test.
Sri Lanka got off to a good start as Abhinav Mukund was caught behind for 12, failing to cash in on his opportunity once again. Mukund poked at a delivery outside off from Nuwan Pradeep, which found Mukund’s edge. From there, Dhawan and Pujara took over and built a brilliant partnership. Dhawan was a tad lucky when he was dropped at slips by Asela Gunaratne, who injured his had while attempting to take that catch.
Barring that, Dhawan played a fluent and attacking innings. He swept, cut, drove and pulled with ease. Sri Lankan bowlers did not have an answer to Dhawan’s attacking approach. India were 115 for 1 in the first session, with Dhawan and Pujara threatening to turn this partnership into a big one.
The rode home their advantage in the second session. Dhawan got to his century off just 110 deliveries. Dhawan was not originally part of this tour, but an injury to Murali Vijay gifted them this opportunity. Pujara too at the other end quietly got to his fifty off 80 deliveries. Dhawan cut loose after he got to his century and after a point of time, his strike-rate too went past 100. His innings started to remind everyone of his breezy century on Test debut. But he went one better as he got to his highest Test score.
Dhawan however, fell to Dhawan in the final over of the second session. He looked to clear mid-off, but Angelo Mathews held on to a simple catch. Dhawan had to depart 10 runs short of his maiden double ton. He took just 168 deliveries to score 190 with the help of 31 fours. India added 167 runs in the second session for the loss of one wicket.
But Sri Lanka were further boosted as they picked up the wicket of the big fish – India captain Virat Kohli for just 3. Kohli looked to pull a short ball, but could only find the edge and the ball was safely pouched by the wicketkeeper. The on-field umpire turned the appeal down, but was finally given out after Sri Lanka took a review. All three wickets went to Pradeep.
Another wicket at that point would have perhaps given Sri Lanka an advantage, but Ajinkya Rahane and Pujara did not let that happen. Pujara got his 12th Test ton and was looking hungry for more. Rahane did not take any chances and was happy to pick up the odd ones and twos. The duo looked in no hurry whatsoever in their partnership. They brought up their 100-run stand right at the end of the day’s play and will hope to build on it on Day Two.
Earlier, India won the toss and elected to bat first. Both India and Sri Lanka handed out a Test debut each. While India roped in Hardik Pandya, Sri Lanka gave a chance to Danushka Gunathilaka. With Pandya in the team, India effectively have three seamers and a couple of spinners. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, have just two frontline spinners in Rangana Herath and Dilruwan Perera and two pacers, Pradeep and Lahiru Kumara.
India 399-3 (Shikhar Dhawan 190, Cheteshwar Pujara 144*; Nuwan Pradeep 3-64) vs Sri Lanka