Winning his third consecutive toss on the Sri Lanka vs India tour, Virat Kohli decided to bat first in the Third Test at Pallakele against the home team. The decision paid off as KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan gave yet another magnificent start to the Indian innings.
Rahul and Dhawan completed the team total of 100 in under 18 overs, fastest by India since 2010. The first session went wicket less as India scored at an accelerated pace going at almost 5 runs an over. Rahul became the 6th player in the history of test cricket to score 7 successive test fifties. If he scored fifty or more in his next innings, he will be the first ever player to achieve the feat. The duo added 188 runs for the first wicket before Rahul was dismissed for 85. Dhawan continued the onslaught and brought up his 6th test century and second of the series.
The Lankan bowlers struck back after that, taking three quick wickets to slow down the Indian run-flow. Virat Kohli batted for a while for his 42 but he too was sent back by Sandakan. At the end of day’s play, India were batting at 329/6.
Here is a look at the Heroes and Zeroes from the day’s play!
The dashing left-hander from Delhi seems to be on fire since his comeback to the team in Champions Trophy. Dhawan scored his 6th test century, a quickfire 123-ball 119 that contained 17 boundaries! This was the first instance of Dhawan scoring two centuries in a series and he is also the first Indian opener since Rahul Dravid in 2011 to score two centuries in a series.
If not frequently injury prone, KL Rahul can be an asset to the Indian team. Playing his second match of the series, Rahul scored yet another fifty, 9th of his 19-test career so far. He gave the perfect stand to Dhawan who was blasting the home team bowlers on the other end. Rahul’s innings consisted of 8 boundaries, before he caught at mid-on for 85.
In just his second test, Malinda Pushpakumara has seemed to have taken the responsibility of being the wrecker in chief. In the absence of the experienced Rangana Herath, Pushpakumara has put in his experience of 100 FC games to good use. He brought his team back into the game especially after the flyer start that India were off to in the first session. With three quick wickets of Dhawan, Rahul and Rahane, Pushpakumara ensured that Sri Lanka weren’t out of the game.
One would have expected the leading run scorer of the series to notch up some runs yet again. However, that wasn’t to happen as Pujara was dismissed quite cheaply for just 8 runs by Chinaman Lakshan Sandakan.
With the ODI selections due in a day, Rahane was under the radar. He did not make use of the good stand up the order and took the long walk back to the pavilion for just 17 runs as he misread a delivery Pushpakumara that slid between the pad and bat to hit timber!