Published: Sun, August 13, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

India bat, Kuldeep replaces Jadeja

India bat, Kuldeep replaces Jadeja

India opener Shikhar Dhawan said he wasn't too displeased with the way he got out after making a rapid hundred in the third Test against Sri Lanka. At the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, openers Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul provided India with the ideal start, not losing their wicket till lunch of Day One.

Incoming batsman Kuldeep Yadav (26), who was drafted in the team in place to Ravindra Jadeja, showed his temperament and forged a 62-run partnership with the Baroda player and helped India to cross 400-run mark. Rahul, who survived a dropped catch on 28, brought up his seventh consecutive Test 50 with a double off pacer Lahiru Kumara. This was the sixth century of his Test career.

With the series already won, the Kohli-led India will aim to continue their dominance over Sri Lanka. Anything over 375 will be a real bonus as like in the first two Tests, Sri Lanka will again have to bat last.

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The left-arm unorthodox bowler recorded his first five-wicket haul in Tests while fellow spinner Malinda Pushpakumara took three wickets. After a pasting at the hands of Hardik Pandya in the first session, in which India scored 158 runs riding on the allrounder's blistering 108 off 96 deliveries, India bowlers ran rough shots against the hosts to bowl them out for 135 in the first innings. India's last hundred-plus opening stand away from home came at Fatullah in Bangladesh, when Murali Vijay and Dhawan put on 283. An over later, Dilruwan Perera pulled a rank-turner but as luck would have it, the ball went straight to Pandya at deep midwicket. The bowlers and Pandya circled each other warily in this period; they knew of his hitting ability, he knew they knew, but for now he would bide his time.

Pujara followed him back to the pavilion just three overs later after being caught by Angelo Mathews in the slips off Sandakan's bowling. India now have two new batters at the crease, exactly what Sri Lanka would have wanted.

Vishwa Fernando, playing his second Test a year after his debut, also snared Ravichandran Ashwin (31) caught behind at full stretch by Niroshan Dickwella to give Sri Lanka another late lift.

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Now Sri-Lanka is set to take the reins to chase down a challenging score target as the second innings of the match begins.

Two overs later, Dhawan completed a scintillating century - his second in the series but Pushpakumara and Lakshan Sandakan (2-84) struck in quick succession to remove Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara (8) early. Then Lahiru Kumara replaced Pushpakumara, pace replacing spin.

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