Sri Lanka vs India 3rd Test Day 1: Dhawan, Rahul give India the upper hand despite Sri Lanka’s comeback

Dhawan celebrates after scoring his sixth Test century

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Even though Sri Lanka did extremely well to restrict India’s dominance on the first day of the third Test in Pallekele, the tourists still hold the advantage thanks to openers Shikhar Dhawan and Lokesh Rahul, who scored 119 and 85 respectively.

India captain Virat Kohli would have been delighted with his decision to bat first as Dhawan and Rahul amassed a superb 188-run partnership, during which both batsmen sailed past their fifties.

Rahul equalled the all-time record after scoring his seventh consecutive fifty-plus score

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

It proved to be a record-breaking stand as it is the highest opening partnership by a visiting team in Sri Lanka, surpassing the 171 runs accumulated by Manoj Prabhakar and Navjot Sidhu in Colombo in 1993.

With India in cruise control and maintaining a healthy run-rate, Sri Lanka were in desperate need for a wicket, but they had to wait until the 40th over to get it when Rahul was dismissed by Malinda Pushpakumara for 85, which came off 135 balls and included eight boundaries.

Dhawan went on to score 119 off 123 deliveries, which included 17 boundaries, before he was brilliantly caught by Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal at square leg off the bowling of Pushpakumara.

Following Dhawan’s departure, India began to lose wickets at regular intervals as Lakshan Sandakan took out Cheteshwar Pujara for eight runs, while Pushpakumara clean bowled Ajinkya Rahane for 17.

Kohli managed to make 42 before becoming Sandakan’s second victim, while Ravichandran Ashwin added 31 before he was caught behind off the bowling of Vishwa Fernando for 31 on the last ball of the third-last over of the day.

Wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha and Hardik Pandya put together an unbeaten seven-run partnership in the final two overs before stumps was called.

Saha finished on 13, while Pandya remained undefeated on one run.

Pushpakumara was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Sandakan took two and Fernando claimed one.

India ended day one on 329/6 and will continue batting on Sunday at 10:00 local time or 04:30 GMT.

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