Sri Lanka host India at Colombo for the second Test between the two nations. India won by their largest ever overseas margin, beating the home side by 304 runs. They won the toss and chose to bat first.
Selection gamble pays off for India
India chose to drop Mukund in favour of KL Rahul, a move that paid dividends in their first innings with the bat. Sri Lanka went in with three changes, with Chandimal returning to lead the side. Malinda Pushpakumara, a veteran of First Class Cricket who has taken over 550 wickets in 100 matches makes his debut, finally getting a chance to represent the nation. Dhananjaya de Silva replaced Gunathilaka, who had a disappointing first Test.
For the Sri Lankans, choosing to play three spinners turned out to be a great move. Herath and Dhananjaya received plenty of purchase on pitching the ball up, foxing the Indian batsmen on fuller lengths that spun away. The turn on the pitch would normally be associated with one at least three days old, but this was just day one, and the first session at that.
The Sri Lankans came up with a game plan, and it’s good to see the smart strategy they applied. CricBuzz reported that when captain Kohli arrived to the practice ground yesterday, he was shown a hard pitch covered with grass, one very similar to the wicket at Galle. Unbeknownst to him, the pitch had transformed overnight, with every blade of grass plucked and dried to assist slow bowling. Whoever came up with this needs a promotion.
India dominate the first day
India dominated the day as expected. Getting off to a quick start, Dhawan looked good for another big score. He attacked the Sri Lankan bowlers from the get go, scoring a handy 35. Rahul complimented him well, playing his own shots and using his feet. They shared a partnership for a short 56 runs.
Pujara started off slow, choosing to grind and play out the overs. Rahul continued being the aggressor, keeping the score board ticking. Pujara gradually picked up the pace once Rahul fell on 57 after a misunderstanding between the pair caused him to be run out. Rahul’s fifty was his sixth consecutive one in Tests. Only two other players have achieved the feat so far, Rahul Dravid and
Kohli perished soon after arriving at the crease thanks to a blinder from Angelo Mathews. He scored 13 from 29 balls, unable to sustain the form he acquired in the last test.
Rahane plays a steady role
Rahane steadied the ship thereafter, rotating the strike and scoring boundaries whenever the chance presented itself. Pujara then scored his second century of the series in three innings, fully justifying the tag of Dravid’s heir for the one down slot.
Nuwan Pradeep went off the field in the middle of the 81st over, raising concerns regarding his fitness. Pushpakumara bowled the last two balls.
Rahane sauntered to his century as well, as India retained total control of the day. They end at 344-3, with two centurions at the crease. Sri Lanka were once again mediocre with the ball, giving the Indians no trouble at all playing the bowlers.
Day 2 has a lot more cricket in store as India look set for another big innings. Can Sri Lanka pull things back? Time will tell.
What were your highlights from day one of the Test between India and Sri Lanka? Let us know in the comments below.
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