The first day of India’s inning was dominated by Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, after the morning session blitz of Lokesh Rahul. Both Rahane and Pujara stroke a century each hauling India’s tally to 344 by the end of first day. The condition at SSC in Colombo was not that favorable, India’s batsmen were not as strong as they were at Galle. India achieved the score at a run rate of 3.8 per over. The spin friendly pitch helped Sri Lanka bowlers to produce inside edges that slowed the momentum, while knocking down the wickets of the day. Rangana Herath removed Virat Kohli by getting him caught at slip.
Lokesh Rahul was run out at 57. It was a strong strike and the first to propel speed in the inning. For Pujara, it was the 50th Test and he crossed the mark of 4000 test runs. The ton was his 13th in the format. By the end of day, he was at 128 not out being the overnight player. His strike was the prime momentum of the day. Pujara started slow, being 14 off 58 before lunch. But, by afternoon tea break he was at 89 off 140. Rahane too followed a similar pattern to gain a strong grip of the pitch. At 35, he was almost trapped by Dilruwan Perera. Such instance did not repeat again in the day.
Sri Lanka played with three spinners in the day and it was only Perera who came out as a worry for India batsmen. Pujara got two lives in his stretch. The first, early at 1 and the next just before the lunch. In the 21st over, he was struck by Herath. The batsman grew cautious enough to play 30 deliveries without a single run. However, this was enough for Pujara to read the pitch as well as the bowlers. In the following stretch, his run rate only got better.
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