Shikhar Dhawan’s blazing 190 off 168 and a flawless century by Cheteshwar Pujara set the perfect platform for India to cruise towards a mammoth total on day 1 of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle. This was second time Dhawan scored a century in a session for the second time in his career, the first being 187 on his Test debut.
Ten runs short of his double century and after 31 hits to the fence, Dhawan fell to Nuwan Pradeep after he toe-ended a length ball straight to mid-off.
Opener Abhinav Mukund failed to make any impression as he fell for 12 off 26. That, however, failed to deter Dhawan from his pursuit of smashing the Sri Lankan bowlers to all corners of the park. Dhawan’s blitzkrieg was well supported by Cheteshwar Pujara, who went on to score a sublime hundred, continued to show why the selectors cannot get rid of him, Tests in particular.
Virat Kohli walked in to replace the left-hander who had just walked away to a stadium on its feet. The commander in chief, however, returned soon (3) after Herath and Dickwella chose to challenge the on-field not-out decision which went in favour of the hosts.
Earlier India had won the toss and decided to bat first in the first Test against Sri Lanka at Galle. India will play the first Test without stellar batsman KL Rahul, who has been sidelined due to high fever.
All-rounder Hardik Pandya is making his debut under the new coach Ravi Shastri. Earlier Virat Kohli in his press conference had said that the Mumbai cricketer had a great chance of getting a debut in the Galle opener.
— BCCI (@BCCI) July 26, 2017
Dhawan got into the team replacing Rahul with India fielding 5 bowlers Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya.
There were little rain showers before the beginning of the game, but the clouds stabled allowing the game to begin with short delay.
Abhinav Mukund was the first one to go back to the pavilion from India as Nuwan Pradeep got Sri Lanka their first breakthrough. Abhinav Mukund’s bad run continues with the Tamil Nadu batsman failing to deliver again. It was a good delivery by Pradeep which Mukund pushed in the hands of Niroshan Dickwella.
Here are the match updates:
Dhawan gets a lifeline, dropped by Gunaratne at the second slip on 32 was an easy one to grab but he drops it. India will take a sigh of relief, as a 2nd wicket at an early stage would have mounted pressure on the batsmen to follow.
Dhawan rotating the strike well, stealing singles from wherever he can. 6 runs scored of the 17th over as the left hand-right hand combination keeps it simple for India. Dhawan pulled of a brilliant boundary on the leg side reminding the bowler of his amazing strength on the left flank. Dhawan is in splendid touch.
Skipper Rangana Herath takes the charge in the 19th over, looking to break the strong going partnership between the two Indian batsmen. Sri Lanka would want to pick one more wicket before Lunch.
11:50(IST) (Dhawan gets his 50)
Dhawan is edging close to his fifty, He gets the first one for India in the series. Shikhar Dhawan scores a fifty in just 62 balls to stable India’s inning. He carries on his Champions Trophy form into the series, India would want one of these batsmen to spend enough time on the middle and ensure a good total towards the end of the first day. This is Dhawan’s 4th fifty in Test cricket, we will have to wait and see if Dhawan can convert it into a hundred.
India 107 for 1 after 25 overs as Dhawan and Pujara continue to the good work in the middle. The left hander smashes two back to back boundaries of Herath’s over.
Herath bowls the final over before lunch. Indian score board stands at 115/1 after 27 overs. India well in control of their innings, Shikhar Dhawan and Pujara have played with utter confidence with the latter also getting his fifty after almost an year the last time he scored a half century was in July, 2016. He has played the new ball beautifully, ball was coming on to the bat and he has capitalised on it extremely well.
Dhawan leading the attack on Lankan bowlers, he is playing absolutely ruthless making ground for his next Test century. He has gone all out on the Lankan spinners. Gunaratne is sent off after fracturing his hand, Sri Lanka down to 10 men with India flying away
Shikhar Dhawan is not in the mood to spare as he takes on the Sri Lankan bowlers with great ease. The southpaw has now flown into his 90s. He has shown immense intelligence in his batting and has kept the runs coming for India.
13:15(IST) Hundred for Dhawan
Dhawan brings up his 5th Test hundred, he has played magnificently and has done little or no mistake. Except for the edge that he gave on to Gunaratne while playing on 32. Dhawan can be a great contender alongside Rahul to open in the next Test for India.
India 166/1 after 36 overs with both Pujara(46) and Dhawan(106) firing through. The pair has partnered well in creating the pressure on the Sri Lankan bowlers, they both look comfortable and are hitting the ball perfectly. Dhawan has been a dominant force up till now.
India just a run behind 200 now, with Dhawan and Pujara still on the crease. Pujara has not been fairly well with his strike rate but he has complimented Dhawan really well. The pair has left Lankan bowlers clueless of their line.
Thats 150 for Dhawan, he is flawless on his day. The Lankan bowlers have been attacked mercilessly, in desperate need of a wicket they will hope for a mistake from the Indian batsmen.
Dhawan takes on Herath dispatching him for two back to back boundaries, India are 251/1 after the 50 overs bowled. Sri Lankan’s have fell prey to mighty Dhawan who is not letting them settle in at all.
Dhawan asks for drinks after a maiden from Herath. Pujara who was on strike took all 6 balls of the over to settle down. Classic Pujara, he is waiting for the bad balls. India stand 268/1 after 52 overs.
Dhawan has gone past his highest individual score of 187 against Australia. The Herath over also marks an unbreakenb 250 runs stand between Pujara and Dhawan.
14:37(IST) OUT! Dhawan goes after a magnificent 190
That’s the end of Dhawan’s flawless effort. He played it right into the hands of Angelo Mathews, giving Nuwan Pradeep his second wicket. Dhawan could have made a statement if had reached his double century, but still his effort is enough to earn him a deserving place in the XI, when India plays Sri Lanka in the next Test.
14:45(IST) Tea break
Tea announced, India have 280/2 on the score board, Dhawan has gone back to the pavallion. Responsibility now is on skipper Virat Kohli’s shoulder to steer the Indian innings, with a strong 280 on board it couldn’t have been a better time for Kohli to take charge.
Pujara and Kohli are back on the pitch. Rangana Herath will open the bowling for Sri Lanka after Tea. Pujar has so far batted sensibly and will look to create an impact with Kohli along.
15:15(IST) out! Kohli caught behind
Nuwan Pradeep is producing a scare here in Galle, he has already dismissed Indian openers Dhawan and Mukund. Here is his third as Virat edges the Sri Lankan’s ball trying to play a pull shot. Umpire didn’t seem interested but Herath opted for a review and they have got their man. Virat Kohli follows Dhawan into the dressing room after 3(8).
Pujara and Rahane are on the crease now looking to steady the ship for India. lankan pacer Pradeep won’t forget this spell anytime soon as he has put his side back into the game with a magnificent spell. India will have to resist anymore wickets into the bowler’s bucket.
Conditions have now improved for fast bowlers, Indian batsmen are up for a challenge now as Lankan’s get back into the game.
300 on board for India with two talented batsmen Ajinkya Rahane and Pujara in the middle. Pujara is nearing his hundred with 87 runs in his pocket up till now, while Rahane looking to settle down with 3(25).
Pujara taking the charge now, he has been in phenomenal touch since the series against Australia, he got a double century in Australia and is closing on his century in this match.
16:00(IST) Century for Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara struck his 12th Test century, he is delighted as he raises in bat after achieving the ton with a boundary. Sri Lankans need to get him if they want India to not post a big total, end of the day.
Pujara has looked absolutely solid with his shots, he has defended well and scored out of bad balls. He has always been India’s main man when it comes to building an innings.
Drinks! India’s score board reflects a strong 335/3 with Pujara playing on 109(195) and Rahane battling on with 15(41). India would want to end it with no more causalities.
50 runs partnership up for the right-handed pair of Rahane and Pujara. They are going on safely by targeting only poor deliveries. The two will hope to play together again tomorrow.
Sri Lanka facing a injury crisis, Dhananjay Silva has injured his shoulder, while diving to stop the ball. Earlier Gunaratne injured his hand and had to leave. Sri Lanka’s physio is on the ground.
With 15 more overs left for the day, India can easily reach 400 as the score reads 347/3. With Pujara and Rahane settled down well, India would not want to settle for anything less than 400.
India reaches past 350 with Pujara and Rahane leading the charge. The pair looks defensively strong , they will look to end the day without separating.
Sri Lanka get the new ball, as 80 overs are bowled. The Lankan’s need a breakthrough before the end of play. India heading strong.
Both Rahane and Pujara have settled well, they are playing the new ball with the right intent, India is inching close towards a big total by the end of play on the 1st day at Galle.
97 runs in between Pujara and Rahane now, 87 overs bowled, India can still post past 400 before the end of the play.
India just 3 runs short of 400 on board after the end of 89th over. Last over of the day left now, India should make it 400.
That’s it, India misses out on 400 by just a run, but indeed a good day for the visitors. Pujara is batting on 144(247) while Rahane will start tomorrow with 39(94) in his tray. Dominant batting display by India, they have already created a platform for their bowlers to launch their attack on the Sri Lankan batsmen when they come on to bat.
India – 397/3 / overs – 89
C.Pujara – 144(247)
Ajinkya Rahane – 39(94)
last batsman to go -Virat Kohli- 3(8)
India – Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Umesh Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Mohammed Shami and Abhinav Mukund.
Sri Lanka – Rangana Herath (Captain), Upul Tharanga, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Asela Gunaratne, Niroshan Dickwella (WK), Danushka Gunathilaka, Dilruwan Perera, Lahiru Kumara and Nuwan Pradeep.