Virat Kohli and Murali Vijay continued to score big runs against Sri Lanka with both accumulating 150-plus knocks on the opening day of third Test.
Virat Kohli and Murali Vijay asserted their dominance over Sri Lanka once again to take India to 371/4 at stumps but suffered hiccups right at the death which provided solace to the visitors. The twin dismissals of Vijay and then Ajinkya Rahane – in a span of nine balls – both to Lakshan Sandakan and both stumpings by Niroshan Dickwella – did allow India’s firm grip on the contest on Day 1 to soften a bit. And yet, India would be happy with the showing from Kohli and Vijay who put together 283 runs and the hosts look the stronger after the opening day at Feroz Shah Kotla.
On a milestone filled day for Kohli, he brought together his 5000th Test run, 3000 as a skipper and 20th Test century and first at Kotla to leave his home fans elated with the skipper’s showing. Vijay, joined him on the act, and they gave Sri Lanka many questions to answer.
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At the top of the order, Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan provided a stroke-filled start to India but introduction of off-break bowler Dilruwan Perera stopped the process. Dhawan was the guilty party and the first to fall after top-edging a full ball outside off when attempting to slog sweep it. Suranga Lakmal almost made a complete hash of it at fine leg somehow holding on and giving Sri Lanka the opening wicket. It resulted in a milestone moment for Perera who became the fastest Sri Lankan to 100 Test wickets, beating Muttiah Muralitharan by two games.
Perera and Sandakan, who had come in for Rangana Herath, couldn’t replicate the magic of the veteran as he continued to bleed runs. Between the two, they conceded 207 runs in 44 overs to allow Vijay and Kohli to score with supreme ease.
Prior to Kohli-Vijay show and the 283 runs that came between them, Cheteshwar Pujara fell to a tried-and-tested plan by Sri Lanka to get his wicket. With a leg slip in place, Lahiru Gamage angled a delivery from wide off the crease, forcing Pujara to go for a flick and hitting it straight to Sadeera Samarawickrama.
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Kohli and Vijay then scored runs at blistering pace to keep Sri Lanka on their toes and then depleted their resources. Yet again in the series, Sri Lanka didn’t have any answers to Kohli’s complete confidence as he picked up a third triple digit knock in a row.
However, with under four overs to be played in the day, Vijay was beaten by Sandakan and Dickwella did the rest by disturbing the bails. Nine balls later, in similar fashion, Ajinkya Rahane too fell and Sri Lanka were suddenly, and out of nowhere, in an attacking mode. The early exit continued Rahane’s poor run in the series following 4, 0, 2 runs in the previous three innings and the 1 on Saturday.
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Rohit Sharma came in next and batted cautiously to ensure no further casualties. Where the Indian team wanted a green top in preparation for South Africa tour ahead, and got it at Eden Gardens and then in Nagpur, Delhi didn’t offer the same. On a lifeless surface, Kohli won the toss and not so surprisingly opted to bat first after winning the toss.