Malinda Pushpakumara, Sri Lanka’s lead spinner in the absence of Ranagana Herath, was not employed in the first session at all in which India cantered to 134 of no loss, but when he came on to bowl in the 40th over of the match, 12 after the second session started; he made an immediate impact.
He also accounted for Shikhar Dhawan in the session and combined well with Chinaman bowler Lakshan Sandakan to curtail India’s run-flow. India, however, went on to score 101 runs in the session, but the hosts, riding on the good show by the spinners took three wickets.
Rahul was Puhspakuamra’s first victim, as similar to the reprieve he had got in the first session, the opener came down the track – a bit too much – to a flighted delivery and mistimed the shot to a diving Dimuth Karunartne at mid-on to depart for 85.
Dhawan though looked in ominous touch and got nine more boundaries after scoring his fifty en route to his six Test century, and second of the series, with a sweetly-timed drive towards the boundary rope.
Pushpakumara and Sandkan stuck to their lines and with the wrist-spinner extracting appreciable turn of the turf, Sri Lanka were in with a chance. The odd loose delivery did come about and Dhawan didn’t fail to capitalise.
But, in a bid to sweep Pushpakumara towards the square leg boundary, Dhawan played the ball upplishly and SL skipper Dinesh Chandimal plucked one out of the thin air at square leg to spur on the Lankans. Dhawan innings came to an end at 119 off 122 deliveries.
The continued pressure sustained by the left-arm orthodox and the left-arm unorthodox yielded positive results as Pujara was undone by a slider from Sandakan.
The one-down batsman went for a cut gauging the line of the delivery but the revs on the ball meant the ball skidded through after pitching and Pujara was cramped for room and edged it to first slip Angelo Mathews. Pujara departed for eight.
Virat Kohli (11*) had trouble early on, reading Sandakan (3*) but he, along with Rahane managed to play out the reminder of the session. TOI
Brief Scores: India 235/3 (Dhawan 119, Rahul 85; Pushpakumara 2/19) vs Sri Lanka