Colombo - Returning batsman Lokesh Rahul hit an unbeaten
half-century to guide India to a strong start on the opening day of the second
Test against Sri Lanka on Thursday.
India, who can clinch the three-Test series in Colombo, were
101 for one at lunch after winning the toss and choosing to bat. Rahul was on
52 with Cheteshwar Pujara on 14.
The pair put on an unbeaten 45-run stand for the second
wicket after opener Shikhar Dhawan's departure for a 37-ball 35 that included
five fours and a six.
Off-spinner Dilruwan Perera provided the only breakthrough
for the hosts in the morning session after getting Dhawan trapped lbw at the
Sinhalese Sports Club Ground.
The left-handed opener was given not out by the on-field
umpire but Sri Lanka successfully referred to get the decision overturned.
Rahul, who missed the first Test with a viral fever, scored
his eighth Test fifty as he and Pujara thwarted a persistent Sri Lankan spin attack.
But Rahul survived an lbw scare on 19 when part-time bowler
Dimuth Karunaratne got a decision in his favour, only for it overturned by the
third umpire on review.
Left-arm spinners Rangana Herath and debutant Malinda
Pushpakumara went wicketless in the first session.
The Dinesh Chandimal-led side, who trail the series 1-0
after losing the first Test in Galle, need at least a draw to stay alive in the