Saturday, 16 December, 2017

Pallekele Test: Dhawan, Rahul shine before Lanka fight back

India vs Sri Lanka Pandya Virat Kohli after he dismissed Sri Lankan batsmen Angelo Matthews
Kristopher Love | 13 August, 2017, 15:06

Herath strained his back and following the advice of the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Medical Unit was deemed unavailable for selection, also considering the large workload he has undertaken in recent Tests. Chinaman bowler Lakshan Sandakan finished with 5 for 132. The ICC said that during Sri Lanka's second innings, one of Jadeja's throw was "in unsafe manner".

Electing to bat after winning the toss, India were off to a flying start, rushing to their 50 in just 55 balls as Dhawan completed his fourth half century of the series in just 45 balls.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya entered the record books by smashing 26 runs in one over against Sri Lanka in the ongoing third and final Test at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, Kandy. The Sri Lankan fans among them, who didn't get put off by the morning session onslaught by Indian openers Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul, would have gone back a happy lot.

Sri Lanka's two left-arm spinners Malinda Pushpakumara and Lakshan Sandakan, though took a flurry of wickets to restrict India to 329/6 at stumps.

Angelo Mathews had no time to react when Rahul edged a cut past him at slip off Sandakan, but he missed out on a century after dancing down the track to strike Pushpakumara to Karunaratne at mid-on.

Yet although Dhawan was among the batsmen to fall either side of tea, Dinesh Chandimal pulling off a superb piece of fielding at square-leg to catch a firmly struck sweep, the opener remained in positive mood. Dhawan was particularly dominant, consistently maintaining a strike rate of more than a run per ball. The bowlers need more rest in places like Sri Lanka where it gets hot and humid.

India, meanwhile, will also miss the services of numero uno all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja as he was suspended over a unsafe throw at Dimuth Karunaratne in the second Test. Their body language was good, they held good catches.

Shikhar Dhawan smashed his fifth hundred away from home.

India has won the first 2 matches of the series and clinched the trophy.

Sri Lanka's batting meanwhile has been heavily reliant on Dimuth Karunratne.

Jadeja accumulated six demerit points inside a 24-month period which means he will be suspended from one Test or two ODIs or two T20Is, whatever comes first. If you have made runs aggressively, then you will get out that way too.

India, who resumed the day on 329-6, lost an early wicket but overnight batsman Pandya, playing just his third Test, kept up the lower-order fight with his 96-ball 108.