Dhawan, Kohli put India in command
Galle, Aug 13 (IANS) Opener Shikhar Dhawan (134) and skipper Virat Kohli (103) struck fluent centuries to help India finish Day 2 with a 187-run lead over Sri Lanka at stumps on Thursday in the first Test being played at the Galle International Cricket Stadium here.
After skittling out the hosts for 183 on Day 1 thanks to an impressive six-wicket haul by off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, India were bowled out for 375 in the first innings following which Sri Lanka struggled at 5/2 in their second innings.
Resuming at 128/2 on a sunny Thursday morning, overnight batsman Kohli and Dhawan found it difficult to score freely early on as Lankan pacers and spinners bowled in tandem. The visitors hit their first boundary only in the 13th over of the day.
However, as the first hour of play progressed, the batsmen slowly settled down and took a vital 44-run first innings lead when the first session ended.
Coming on to the field after lunch, India played on an aggressive note as skipper Kohli brought up his 10th Test century in style. Dhawan and Kohli looked settled for even bigger knocks but both fell in the second session, thus ending their 227-run third-wicket partnership.
Kohli was dismissed soon after he reached the three-figure-mark, going back to the pavilion with the score at 255. India received a double blow when incoming batsman Ajinkya Rahane was out for a duck on his fifth delivery with India at 257.
Set batsman Dhawan and Ashwin (7) also fell soon after to give Sri Lanka something to cheer about before tea was called.
The final session saw a see-saw battle between the two subcontinent teams. Couple of wickets fell as well as runs were scored by the visitors which ensured them a vital first innings lead with three days still to go.
Harbhajan Singh (14) and Amit Mishra (10) fell victims to spinner Tharindu Kaushal as the Sri Lankan claimed his fourth wicket of the innings.
Wriddhiman Saha (60) chipped in with a handy half-century to become the second Indian wicketkeeper after former India Test skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to score a 50-plus score in Sri Lanka.
For the hosts, Kaushal (5/134) and Nuwan Pradeep (3/98) were the pick of the bowlers.
In Sri Lanka’s second innings, they got off to the worst possible start, losing both openers — Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva — for ducks inside two overs.
Ashwin and Mishra struck in successive overs to leave Lanka at 5/2 at stumps with a daunting task ahead of the hosts to save the Test with three days remaining.