India in charge in Colombo

2015-08-20 15:11
Virat Kohli (Gallo Images)

Colombo - Lokesh Rahul hit a century as India overcame early shocks to post 319/6 on the opening day of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo on Thursday.

Rahul scored 108, his second Test century in four Tests, and shared a third-wicket stand of 164 with skipper Virat Kohli (78) after the tourists had slumped to 12/2 by the fifth over of the match.

Both batsmen fell on either side of the tea break, but Rohit Sharma boosted the total with a typically aggressive 79 that contained three sixes and five boundaries.

Sharma was leg-before to Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews off what became the last ball of the day, leaving Wriddhiman Saha unbeaten on 19.

The 23-year-old Rahul, who hit a century against Australia in Sydney in only his second Test earlier this year, made amends for scores of seven and five in the first Test with delightful strokeplay.

Dropped at gully by Jehan Mubarak off Dushmantha Chameera when he was on 11, Rahul hit 13 boundaries and a six before a loose shot cost him his wicket after tea.

Rahul top-edged a hook off Chameera and the ball ballooned in the air before landing safely in the hands of wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal.

Some 6 000 home fans at the P. Sara Oval applauded warmly when Sri Lanka's batting great Kumar Sangakkara was welcomed on to the field in his last Test with a guard of honour by young children holding raised bats.

India, seeking a series-levelling win after losing the first Test in Galle by 63 runs, were in for a rude shock after Kohli won the toss and elected to bat on a moisture-laden pitch.

Opener Murali Vijay, who replaced the injured Shikhar Dhawan in one of the three changes made by India, was trapped leg-before by Dhammika Prasad off the fourth ball of the innings, before he had scored.

Prasad struck again in his third over when Ajinkya Rahane drove at a wide ball and edged an easy catch to Dimuth Karunaratne at third slip.

But Rahul and Kohli settled in to deny Sri Lanka another wicket till late in the afternoon session when the captain departed against the run of play.

Kohli, who appeared set for a big score after hitting eight boundaries and a six, was caught low at first slip by his Sri Lankan counterpart Mathews as he went to cut Rangana Herath.

All-rounder Stuart Binny scratched around for 40 deliveries to make an unconvincing 10 when he attempted to loft Herath out of the ground and gave Chameera an easy catch at mid-off.

Sharma, who made nine and four at Galle, hit timely form as he pounded Prasad for a six and four in the first over with the second new ball that was taken as soon as it was due after 80 overs.

Sharma and Saha put on 52 for the sixth wicket, but Sharma's late dismissal enabled Sri Lanka to share the opening day's honours.

Besides bringing in Vijay, India also included Binny and fast bowler Umesh Yadav in place of off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and paceman Varun Aaron.

Sri Lanka dropped the injured Nuwan Pradeep to play young fast bowler Chameera.

Read more on:    india  |  sri lanka  |  virat kohli  |  cricket


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