Cheteshwar Pujara © Getty Images (File Photo)
Cheteshwar Pujara was unbeaten on 135 overnight © Getty Images (File Photo)

Rangana Herath picked up the last two Indian wickets to fall as India were bowled out for 312 early on Day Three of the third Test against Sri Lanka at at Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) Stadium, Colombo. Cheteshwar Pujara, who was unbeaten on 135 off 277 deliveries overnight, became the fourth Indian batsman to carry his bat in a completed innings, remaining not out on 145. India came out with the aim to score as many runs as quickly as possible, which resulted in Ishant Sharma trying to slog Herath over the ropes. He missed the ball altogether and was bowled instead. Umesh Yadav was then bowled by Herath trying to play him off the back foot. Live cricket scorecard: India vs Sri Lanka, 3rd Test at Colombo (SSC)

Earlier, Pujara showed off his immense powers of concentration by patiently waiting for the loose balls to come his way. He hardly played a false shot, though he got a life on 117 when his pull shot was put down by Nuwan Pradeep at square leg. For the rest of the day he was tight though; he remained on 31 for 23 balls but finally cut loose against the off-spin of Tharindu Kaushal, hitting him for three successive boundaries to move from 32 to 44. It was not all fun and games for India though, as Dhammika Prasad’s four-wicket burst reduced the visitors to 180 for 7 before Amit Mishra came out to join Pujara. Live cricket updates: India vs Sri Lanka, 3rd Test at Colombo (SSC), Day 3

The partnership proceeded to frustrate Sri Lanka for around 27 overs, putting on 104 runs for the eighth wicket. Mishra was the aggressor, scoring a positive but chancy 59 off 87 balls with seven boundaries. Pujara held firm at the other end, poncing on the loose balls but calmly playing out the good ones. Pujara added a round 50 with Virat Kohli, 55 with Rohit Sharma, and 54 with debutant Naman Ojha.

Kohli did the hard work in the morning session before playing away from his body against Angelo Mathews and offering a simple catch to debutant wicketkeeper Kusal Perera. Rohit received a superb ball from Dhammika off what was the final ball before lunch, edging to slip for a good-looking 26. Stuart Binny, in at No. 6, was trapped LBW first ball after lunch but Naman showed some resolve. The debutant wicketkeeper-batsman looked good in his stay at the crease, but was guilty of playing a completely unnecessary shot when on 21. He tried to hit Tharindu Kaushal over the ropes but holed out at long on. Ravichandran Ashwin could not do much either, and played away from the body to get caught behind off Dhammika. However, Mishra and Pujara then got together to rescue India. Mishra was finally dismissed in bizarre fashion, getting an inside edge that ricocheted off his foot to the wicketkeeper while he was out of his crease. He was stumped for a vital 59. READ: Murali Vijay’s injury opens the door for Cheteshwar Pujara ahead of India vs Sri Lanka 2015, 3rd Test

Pujara stood tall amid the ruins of India’s batting, scoring a marvellous century to guide India to 220 for 7 against Sri Lanka at tea. Pujara absorbed the pressure like a sponge as the rest of India’s batting showed a lack of patience as Dhammika Prasad pegged away at the wickets. Pujara found an able ally in No. 9 Amit Mishra, who played positively to add 40 for the eighth wicket. Dhammika finished the session with four wickets, but he was able to go past Pujara’s bat on just a couple of occasions. READ: Virat Kohli’s first win as Test captain vindicates ‘aggressive’ approach

Sri Lanka started the session brilliantly, with Dhammika trapping Stuart Binny LBW for a first-ball duck. Naman Ojha came in at No. 7 on Test debut and showed good technique in handling the bowling. Unlike Wriddhiman Saha, he looked in control from the start and looked quite positive. However, he let himself get lulled into a false sense of security, and ended up playing a needless hoick off Tharindu Kaushal to get caught at long on. Ravichandran Ashwin was unable to last long, edging Dhammika behind to give the pacer his fourth wicket. Mishra then came out to join Pujara, and the duo steadied the ship. They took India from a precarious 180 for 7 to 220 at tea, remaining unseparated. READ: The vulnerability of Indian all-rounders

Pujara offered a resounding reminder of his worth by clamping down and grinding out for the first hour and a half before cutting loose just before lunch. A wicket off the last ball of the session meant that India went to lunch at 119 for 4, with Pujara unbeaten on 55. Rohit Sharma, who came in at No. 5, looked good for his 26 before edging to Upul Tharanga off Dhammika Prasad off what proved to be the final ball before lunch. READ: KL Rahul could do a Rahul Dravid and help balance the side by keeping wickets for India

Kohli and Pujara saw off a trying morning spell from Prasad and Nuwan Pradeep, but the former fell off the first delivery bowled by Angelo Mathews. Kohli’s hard work was undone by a brief break in concentration, as he edged an innocuous delivery from Mathews to the wicketkeeper Kusal Perera for 18. Pujara — opening batting after Murali Vijay had to be left out due to injury — and Kohli added a round 50 before Kohli’s dismissal. READ: India will miss services of Murali Vijay, Wriddhiman Saha in 3rd Test against Sri Lanka at Colombo (SSC)

Pujara looked every bit “The Wall 2.0″ in the morning session. He left well and defended with soft hands, showing immense patience and concentration. He was stuck on 31 for a few overs, not finding a loose ball to score off. But the moment Tharindu Kaushal came on, Pujara took complete toll. The first ball was driven to cover for a boundary, the next was a short ball and cut to third man for another boundary, while the third was driven past point for the third in three balls. Pujara had gone from 36 to 44 in three balls, and later completed his fifty off the same bowler. Kaushal was eventually taken off after conceding 17 from his first two overs. READ: Cheteshwar Pujara faces big challenge ahead of India vs Sri Lanka 3rd Test at Colombo

Earlier, India were rocked early by Sri Lanka on Day One before Pujara and skipper Kohli took India to 50 for 2 at stumps as rain forced an early close to the day. Dhammika Prasad took the first wicket, getting KL Rahul out bowled in the very first over of the match. Rahul tried to leave the ball but it jagged in and broke the stumps. Ajinkya Rahane once again came in at No. 3 but was struck plumb in front off the bowling of Nuwan Pradeep. Angelo Mathews won the toss and elected to bowl. Wriddhiman Saha and Murali Vijay missed out for India with injuries, as Cheteshwar Pujara and debutant wicketkeeper-batsman Naman Ojha got a look-in. Sri Lanka brought back fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep in place of Dushmantha Chameera, and were forced to finally come to terms with Kumar Sangakkara’s retirement by bringing in Upul Tharanga in his place. They also replaced the under-performing Jehan Mubarak with Kusal Perera. READ: What to expect from the Virat Kohli era of Indian cricket!

Brief scores:

India 312 (Cheteshwar Pujara 145*, Amit Mishra 59; Dhammika Prasad 4 for 100) vs Sri Lanka.

Full Scorecard

Photo Gallery

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek who loves cricket more than cricketers. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)