Pallekele Test: Dhawan, Rahul shine before Lanka fight back

Dushmantha Chameera

Now, for the first time in the series, India find themselves under a good amount of pressure. This is the first time ever that India have managed to take a 2-0 lead in a Test series in Sri Lanka and have a chance to complete a thumping series win against their less illustrious opponents. Ergo he won't be able to play the Pallekele Test, tomorrow.

To be in Sri Lanka and not sweat buckets feels a bit odd.

On the other hand, the Sri Lankan team made three changes in the team by including Lakshan Sadakan, Lahiru Kumara and Vishwa Fernando in place of Rangana Herath, Nuwan Pradeep and Dhananjaya de Silva. It was Pandya's maiden Test century. To start the third Test, Shikhar Dhawan and Lokesh Rahul opened to bat, presently at 54 (52 balls) and 50 (67 balls) respectively, at the time of reporting. In effect, the game had been reduced to a net session, with Dhawan pulling out as many unorthodox shots as possible to unsettle the bowlers. The last home global season, the lower order had taken India to bigger totals.

"A chinaman bowler is always something which is an x-factor in a team and I would say his confidence is his USP".

Rahul, who scored his seventh consecutive Test fifty, was the first to go after mistiming a drive to mid-on off Pushpakumara. Rahul departed for 85.

In the fourth over of the second session, the pair went past the 150-run stand and soon held the record for the highest opening stand against Sri Lanka in their own backyard when they reached 175.

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Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal brilliantly caught Dhawan diving to his left at square-leg when the batsman swept Pushpakumara. He scored 119 from 123 balls. Both were guilty of either not making the openers play enough or providing width off short balls that could be safely struck for boundaries.

Pujara followed him back to the pavilion just three overs later after being caught by Angelo Mathews in the slips off Sandakan's bowling.

Kohli and Rahane were then tasked with stabilizing the innings, which they did, ensuring no more wickets were lost as the team headed into Tea. Yes, they have done it in the past but it will be interesting to see if they can do it again.

Exactly what Sri Lanka hope to achieve with the pitch they put up is anyone's guess.

Sandakan, varying his pace and keeping batsmen guessing the direction of turn, conceded only three off the next over despite Pandya being on strike through most of it.

"I was just saying jokingly that if you bat like a king, you should also get out like a king, you should not be dismissed like a soldier".

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