The pitch significantly slowed down as the opening day of third Test progressed. The southpaw duo of finger-spinner Malinda Pushpakumara and wrist-spinner Lakshan Sandakan exploited the conditions and picked up 5 wickets between them. The track has a tinge of grass, but the bounce has been a bit low, making the Indian batters difficult to read the lengths. While Ajinkya Rahane was knocked over, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli were caught in the slips. Given the track is expected to get slower and lower, India’s 329 for 6 on the opening day seems to be enough. At the crease are Hardik Pandya and Wriddhiman Saha. The duo would look to add as many runs on the scoreboard.
India had not lost any wicket till lunch. Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul added 134, slamming quick fifties. They started the second session in a similar fashion, taking on the bowlers. However, Rahul yet again failed to reach the three-figure mark despite getting a good start. He went for 85. Dhawan, on the other hand, went on to score his fifth overseas hundred – third against Sri Lanka in their own den. That was it though. Sri Lankan spinners came to the party and restricted India, taking six wickets. At one point India were going at a rate of over 5. With wickets falling in quick succession, India were kept at bay. Having said that, India still have the edge given the amount of runs they have scored so far.
“The Sri Lankan bowlers bowled well and pulled the match a little bit on their side. We got a good start and still feel at the end of the day, 329 is a good score. Those (who) are batting now are capable of scoring big runs,” said Dhawan after the end of day’s play.
“It’s not easy to score runs out there and even outfield is not that quick. When Sri Lanka come out to bat, we are going to make sure that we squeeze them hard.” Dhawan made it clear that the batters are not going to have a good time.