© AFP
Malinda Pushpakumara ended the opening day with a three-for © AFP

India ended Day 1 of the third Test at 329 for 6, against Sri Lanka at Pallekele. After electing to bat, openers Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul added 188 for the first wicket. Rahul registered his seventh consecutive half-century, equalling the world record with Kumar Sangakkara, Everton Weekes, Andy Flower, Chris Rogers, and Shivnarine Chanderpaul. However, he yet again failed to reach the three-figure mark. Malind Pushpakumara lured him into playing a big stroke and had him caught at mid-on for 85. Dhawan, meanwhile, continued his run-fest, punching his way to his sixth hundred. He joined Virender Sehwag in an elite list, scoring most hundreds (3) on the Sri Lankan soil. That said, Dhawan achieved it in a mere 4 Tests.

Although India had gone into lunch without a loss of wicket, they lost three down in the second session. Malinda sent Dhawan packing, as Dinesh Chandimal took a brilliant catch to stop the Indian opener on 119. It was a day for southpaws, and Chinaman Lakshan Sandakan joined the act. He induced a thick outside edge off the in-form Cheteshwar Pujara for 8. India went to tea with Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane unbeaten. All the same, Sri Lanka pushed India in further trouble. Malinda castled Rahane’s defence, looping one between bat and pad. Despite the sudden collapse, Kohli almost eased his way to a half-century, but he fell to Sandakan’s wrist-spinners for 42. All-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin was yet again a delight to watch on a track that has something for both batters and bowlers. Given the Sri Lankans were bowling in the right channel, he took some time to find his feet. However, he too perished towards the fag end of the day’s play. Left-arm pacer Vishwa Fernando had him caught behind.

Brief scores:

India 329 for 6 (KL Rahul 85; Shikha Dhawan 119; Malind Pushpakumar 3 for 40) vs Sri Lanka.

Full scorecard