Tons by Kohli, Dhawan put India in driver’s seat
Skipper Virat Kohli and opener Shikhar Dhawan slammed classy centuries as India took firm control of the first cricket Test against Sri Lanka by taking a substantial 192-run lead first innings here on Thursday. In reply to Sri Lanka’s paltry first innings score of 183, India scored a decent 375 in 117.4 overs, courtesy Kohli’s 103 and Dhawan’s 134, as they laid the foundation with a 227-run stand for the third wicket on an eventful second day.
Sri Lanka <g data-gr-id="31"><g data-gr-id="32"><g data-gr-id="33">were were</g></g></g> tottering at 5 for 2 in their second innings, still trailing by 187 runs. Glovesman Wriddhiman Saha’s (60) maiden Test half-century also went a long way towards India stretching their lead close to 200 runs.
For Sri Lanka, their off-spinner Tharindu Kaushal was the most <g data-gr-id="27">succcessful</g> bowler with figures of 5/134 in 32.4 overs. Pacer Nuwan Pradeep chipped in with 3/98.
Ravichandran Ashwin, opening the bowling, castled <g data-gr-id="29">Dimuth</g> Karunaratne (0) with a doosra. With skipper Kohli employing a double spin attack, Amit Mishra’s googly breached Kaushal Silva’s <g data-gr-id="28">defence</g> to leave the islanders in a daze.
With three full days left, the hosts face a daunting task to save the game and prevent India from taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
With the strip reasonable turn and odd balls keeping low, the visitors would like to drive home the advantage with their champion spinner Ashwin in prime form. While India got a good lead, they could not score at a very quick clip as they managed 247 runs during the 83.4 overs that they batted on <g data-gr-id="41">second</g> day. <g data-gr-id="40">However</g> credit should be given to both Kohli and Dhawan as the Lankan bowlers failed to make any inroads in the first session of the day. While Kohli faced 191 balls for his 103 that had 11 boundaries, Dhawan also showed loads olf patience during his 273-ball-134 that had 13 hits to the fence. For the Indian captain, this was his 11th Test hundred while his Delhi teammate helped himself to his fourth <g data-gr-id="34">ton</g> and second in successive Test matches. Starting the day at 128 for two, the duo slowly and steadily paced their innings playing both pacers and spinners comfortably.
They were prepared to wait for the loose deliveries, which were time and again provided by the spin duo of Kaushal and veteran Rangana Herath (0/67 in 33 overs), who never looked <g data-gr-id="35">penetratrive</g>.
Dhawan completed his century during the first session with a regal cover drive off <g data-gr-id="36">Dhamika</g> Prasad as India went into the lunch at 227 for two. Indians lost <g data-gr-id="37">a bit of</g> momentum as far as run- scoring was concerned in the second session even though Kohli completed his much-awaited 11th century.